Mathieu Warnier, Media365 Posted on Sunday, January 15, 2023 at 6:14 pm.
For just one small point and at the end of a controversial match with twelve to fifteen, Racing 92 is important against Harlequins (30-29) and hopes for the Champions Cup.
Racing 92 was very scared. The Île-de-France club needed a win at home to Harlequins after two defeats saw them miss the first half of the Champions Cup group stage last December. The message went down well as it took just five minutes for Gaël Fickou to score the first try of the match. Ciel-et-Blancs, speeding up their game thanks to the post-contact passes, found the gap that allowed their captain to go for the queen, Finn Russell unflinching in the conversion. However, Laurent Travers’ men then fell into a false rhythm, allowing Harlequins to recover from a lethargic start to the match. A quarter of an hour before half-time, Marcus Smith took a penalty chance to unlock the Harlequins counter when Cedate Gomes Sa then gave way to Trevor Nyakane in the concussion protocol, unable to continue. However, the London side hung on to those three points until the break, with the goalscorer missing the target from long range after just five minutes. Added to that was a try that was disallowed on video, Donovan Taofifenua managed to slide his arm between the turf and the ball, and Aaron Morris made the save. In the process, it was Racing 92 who were able to add to the bill through Kitione Kamikamica, who entered the circuit very early.
Racing 92 took the lead
At the end of a good collective sequence, the third row pierced the Quins defense and appreciated his burst of speed. An advantage of eleven lengths at the break, which the residents of Ile-de-France grew from the first seconds of the second half. Indeed, at the start made by Finn Russell, Ciel-et-Blancs were able to immediately win the ball back and play on the left flank. Maxime Beaudonne broke through a disorganized defensive curtain before serving in Francis Saili’s set-piece. Then, 18 points ahead and a try from the attacking bonus, Racing 92 could see it coming… but it wasn’t based on Harlequins’ fighting spirit. About two minutes later, after a touch was caught and a ball was created, Danny Care was able to clear the ball to surprise and test the Ile-de-France defence. The game then turned with the Londoners rebounding to score their second try within five minutes. This time, it was Marcus Smith who started the movement out of the scrum and served up Jadan Murray at the plate. Harlequins were slowed by indiscipline, which saw Aaron Morris tackle Donovan Taofifenua in the air, then Alex Dombrandt tackle Nolann Le Garrec high. minute. Meanwhile, Finn Russell added three on foot for Racing 92.
Harlequins narrowly surrendered
The lack of numbers did not scare the Londoners, who returned to two points with a quarter of an hour left in the game, thanks to a double by Jadan Murray. The winger finished off successive wides with a touchdown before seeing the striker miss the conversion that would have leveled the two teams. With their backs against the wall, the Ile-de-France side took a breather in the 70th minute after Finn Russell’s penalty, but that’s when the match began to turn into a nightmare for Racing 92. In space Three players saw yellow cards in four minutes. First of all, Donovan Taofifenua was penalized for a free-kick. Eddy Ben Arous then paid dearly for a knockdown, then Finn Russell was again picked off by the patrol for a volunteer attacker in an attempted tackle. Also, in this case, Harlequins went for a try and the match referee awarded the English outfit seven penalty try points. The latter then took the lead for the first time in the match three minutes into the game. But the Quins defense made a mistake at the kick-off and Nolann Le Garrec had no qualms about putting his side ahead for long. Despite being down three players, the Racingmen bravely continued to defend before hiding the ball in the final minute of regulation time. Courageously, Racing 92 signs the first victory of the season in the Champions Cup (30-29) and can still believe in the 1/8 finals.