Match Centre: Champions Cup: Racing 92 28-31 Harlequins

Marcus Smith contributed with 20 points
Marcus Smith contributed with 20 points

Racing 92 28-31 Harlequins, Pool 2, Paris La Defense Arena

Harlequins overcame a hat-trick from Nolann Le Garrec as they edged out Racing 92 in the opening round of the Investec Champions Cup at Paris La Defense Arena.

Racing opened their account in the 14th minute as scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec spotted the gap in Quins defence to break through and complete the opening try and he followed with the conversion to make it 7-0.

The scores were levelled in the 21st minute as Marcus Smith sold Racing a dummy and raced through for a converted try and three minutes later Andre Esterhuizen went past the last defender to cross the whitewash. Smith followed with the extras and also slotted a drop goal in the 37th minute to make it 7-17.

Racing narrowed down the gap as Antoine Gibert stretched over in the corner and le Garrec improved making it 14-17 heading into the break.

The French side extended the momentum into the break as le Garrec grabbed his second with a quick dive under the posts and in the 58th minute Ibrahim Diallo dived from close range. Le Garrec kicked both the conversions as the French side extended the lead to 28-17.

The visitors stepped up the ante in the final quarter with skipper Alex Dombrandt dotting down after collecting a neat pass from Danny Care and Jack Walker followed the suit with Smith kicking both the conversions to take them to a 28-31 lead.

The Quins lost Dino Lamb to sin-bin in the final minute but despite the setback they managed to hold on to their three-point lead to kick start the campaign with a victory.

Team line up:

Racing: Arundell; Habosi, Fickou, Saili, Imhoff; Gibert, Le Garrec; Gogichashvili, Tarrit, Nyakane, Palu, Woki, Diallo, Kolisi, Lauret.

Reserves: Arous, Nyakane, Gomes Sa, Chouzenoux, Joseph, Le Bail, Tedder, Chavancy.

Harlequins: Green; David, Joseph, Esterhuizen, Murley; Smith, Care; Marler, Riley, Lewis, Launchbury, Lamb, Cunningham-South, W Evans, Dombrandt (capt).

Reserves: Walker, Baxter, Kerrod, Herbst, Chisholm, Porter, J Evans, Beard.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table