Racing 92 claim smash and grab victory over Scarlets

Date published: October 13 2018

Racing 92 claimed a smash and grab 14-13 come-from-behind victory over the Scarlets in Champions Cup action at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Racing 92 bossed the first-half, enjoying 64 percent territory and 60 percent possession, but it was actually Scarlets who led for 29 minutes of the first stanza after Leigh Halfpenny’s 10th minute penalty.

Scarlets were having to make twice the number of tackles as their opponents with a tackle efficiency of 84 percent compared to their opponents’ 95, while Racing made double the amount of metres as Scarlets.

And just when it looked as if Scarlets may hold on until the half-time whistle, Racing scrum-half Xavier Chauveau dummied and offloaded for Baptiste Chouzenoux, who had run an excellent support line to dot down. Fly-half Finn Russell gave the visitors a 7-3 lead going into the interval.

But 12 minutes into the second-half, the Scarlets began to turn the screw at the scrum and scrum-half Gareth Davies produced a moment of magic with a brilliant blindside sniping break from the back of the set-piece to dot down for an 8-7 lead.

Five minutes later, Scarlets had their second and it was a superb team try. The initial break and offload from Hadleigh Parkes got it all started before Jonathan Davies’ excellent grubber kick was well finished by Johnny McNicholl. However, once again Scarlets fly-half Angus O’Brien failed to convert his second successive conversion which meant it was still just a six-point lead.

Having kept themselves in the game up until four minutes to go, a line-out drive ensured Racing would sneak it as they were awarded the penalty try while scrum-half Davies was yellow-carded for bringing down the maul.

And so the away side would hold on for somewhat of a smash and grab 14-13 victory when it looked for all money that Scarlets’ second-half turnaround would open their Champions Cup account with a win.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Davies, McNicholl
Pen: Halfpenny

For Racing 92:
Tries: Chouzenoux, Penalty Try
Con: Russell

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Ed Kennedy, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tom Price, 20 Joshua Macleod, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Paul Asquith

Racing 92: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Olivier Klemenczak, 12 Henry Chavancy (c), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Xavier Chauveau, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Guram Gogichashvili
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Boris Palu, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Virimi Vakatawa

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Jonathan Healy (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)