14-man Racing hold off Scarlets

Date published: November 21 2015

Racing 92 got their Champions Cup campaign off to a superb start when they secured a deserved 29-12 victory over Scarlets despite having a man sent off early in the second half.

France flanker Bernard le Roux was sent off for a stamp early in the second half after his side had already secured a try bonus point.

The match was played in atrocious weather conditions with heavy rain restricting the play mostly to the forwards but when the ball was played to the backs, however, Racing were the more enterprising side and they outscored their hosts four tries to two.

A dominant first-half display, when they raced into a 26-0 lead at half-time, set up this victory for the Parisian outfit whose tournament opener against Glasgow Warriors was postponed due to the terror attacks in their city last Friday.

The defeat is a disastrous result for the Scarlets who also lost their opener away to Northampton last weekend.

Racing made a fine start and were soon 5-0 up thanks to a well-taken Maxime Machenaud try. The visitors' number nine was rewarded after giving chase to a Joe Rokocoko grubber kick and dived onto the ball behind Scarlets' try line.

Despite the rain, Racing opted to run the ball when they were inside Scarlets' half and in the 18th minute Rokocoko crossed for their second try after he was put in the clear by a well-timed pass from Goosen.

The Scarlets seemed shell-shocked by the visitors' decision to run the ball in the rain and 10 minutes later Chris Masoe slid in for Racing's third try after Le Roux set up the score with a 30-metre run in the build-up.

And shortly before the interval, Machenaud broke around the fringe of a ruck deep inside Scarlets' 22 before drawing in Gareth Davies and getting his pass out to Marc Andreu who dived over in the left-hand corner.

Four minutes after the restart, there was a big moment as Greg Garner showed Racing flanker Le Roux a red card for stamping on Scarlets front-row Phil John off-the-ball at a ruck. 

Racing did well to hold their own for an considerable period but the home side made their numerical advantage count when Aled Thomas crossed for their opening try in the 57th minute.

With the visitors a man down, the game became a loose affair as Scarlets tried to narrow the gap.

They spent large periods inside the visitors' 22 and Racing then had to play a 10-minute period with 13 men when Ben Tameifuna was yellow carded for not slowing the ball down cynically at a ruck close to his tryline in the 65th minute.

Scarlets got their second try shortly afterwards, Lewis Rawlins barging over from close quarters when Aled Davies was stopped just short after a bullocking run from the back of a scrum on Racing's five-metre line.

Thomas added the extras whicg gave the hosts some hope but all hope of a late revival was ended when Goosen slotted a penalty 10 minutes before the final whistle.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Thomas, Rawlins
Con: Thomas

For Racing 92:
Tries: Machenaud, Rokocoko, Masoe, Andreu
Cons: Machenaud 3
Pen: Goosen
Yellow Card: Tameifuna
Red Card: Le Roux

Scarlets: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Maselno Paulino, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Tom Price, 20 Lewis Rawlins, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Mike Collins, 23 Steff Evans.

Racing 92: 15 Johan Goosen, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Thibault Dubarry, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Juan Imhoff, 23 Brice Dulin.

Referee: Greg Garner (England)