Two second-half tries saw Racing MÃ©tro claim an important 27-16 win over Toulouse in the Top 14 at Stade Yves du Manoir on Saturday.
Two second-half tries saw Racing MÃ©tro claim an important 27-16 victory over Toulouse in the Top 14 at Stade Yves du Manoir on Saturday.
Former France wing Vicent Clerc scored early in the second period – the 86th try of his career – to give Toulouse the lead but tries from Racing centre Henry Chavancy and replacement hooker Virgile Lacombe handed the hosts a well-deserved victory.
The result is Toulouse's fourth defeat in six games this season as they were unable to match Racing up front.
Victory sees Racing provisionally go third two points adrift of leaders Toulon, who thrashed 14 man Brive 53-13 on Friday, although the standings can change later with Clermont and Stade Francais capable of taking over at the top should they beat Lyon at home and Montpellier away respectively.
Clerc's try puts him third on the all-time French league try scorers list, two behind Clermont skipper Aurelien Rougerie and 15 behind the retired Laurent Arbo.
Toulouse, who came into the match on their worst losing run for 36 years, for their part are nine points adrift of Toulon having played six matches.
“We lost our focus,” said Toulouse flanker Yannick Nyanga.
“We are going through a bad patch and we need to work really hard because there are lots of things that we are just not doing right.”
Racing and Toulouse kickers Maxime Machenaud and Flood slotted over two penalties apiece to have the sides level on the quarter hour mark.
Machenaud, who had the kicking duties in the absence of injured Irish star Jonny Sexton, restored Racing's slight advantage with another penalty.
Machenaud, in competition with Morgan Parra and South African-born Rory Kockott for a spot in Philippe Saint-AndrÃ©'s French squad, slotted over another penalty six minutes from half-time.
Racing crossed the line in the final minute of the first-half with a lovely passing movement which saw winger Teddy Thomas touch down but it was ruled out for obstruction on Toulouse skipper Thierry Dusautoir.
However, the referee awarded the hosts a penalty from an earlier infraction at the scrum and Machenaud converted to give Racing a 15-9 half-time advantage.
Toulouse came out with the bit between their teeth in the second-half and with the wind behind them they took the lead for the first time in the match six minutes into the second period with a fine try by Clerc.
Keeping the ball alive through a succession of passes involving Nyanga, Yoann Huget and Gael Fickou the ball came to Clerc and despite his 33 years he found the acceleration required to breeze inside Thomas and touch down.
Flood converted for 16-15.
However, their lead lasted just seven minutes as Machenaud stole the ball from a Toulouse scrum deep inside the visitors 22 and it resulted in Chavancey bundling over from a few metres out – Machenaud added the conversion for a 22-16 lead to the hosts.
The visitors chances of retrieving something from the match receded further in the 58th minute when Kiwi prop Neemia Tialata was sin-binned for using his arm in a tackle and two minutes later Racing added their second try.
It was a collective effort from the Racing pack resulting in replacement hooker Virgile Lacombe being credited for it just minutes after replacing Dimitri Szarzewski who had a problem with his left knee.
For Racing Metro:
Tries: Chavancy, Lacombe
Cons: Machenaud 2
Pens: Machenaud 5
Pens: Flood 3
Yellow cards: Tialata
Racing MÃ©tro: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Marc Andreu, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Benjamin Dambielle, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Fabrice Metz, 20 Camille Gerondeau, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Jamie Roberts.
Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sebastien Bezy, 8 Joe Tekori, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Kisi Pulu, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Neemia Tialata.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Rodrigue Neti, 19 Edwin Maka, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Timoci Matanavou, 23 Yann David.
Venue Stade Yves du Manoir, Colombes
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz