Racing beat Northampton 33-3 in Paris on Saturday, while Glasgow, Stade Français, Exeter, the Ospreys and Ulster all won their European Champions Cup matches.
Dan Carter launched his Racing career with a Man of the Match performance against the Saints. Succeeding with three out of four conversion attempts, he delivered an outstanding all-round performance for his new team, who controlled the game from the start.
The Saints were no match for Racing, who ran in five unanswered tries. Scores by centre Henry Chavancy and prop Eddy Ben Arous in the first quarter pushed the hosts out to a 14-point lead, before the Saints cut the deficit with a penalty to make it 14-3.
But, any comeback hopes were skillfully dashed by Brice Dulin who dotted down either side of the break to secure the game for Racing. The France fullback floated straight through the Saints’ defence for his first effort, before intercepting a pass by Saints lock Victor Matfield to score and earn the bonus point. Carter’s fourth conversion, though, hit the post.
Northampton built momentum as they managed to hold possession for quite a while, leading to centre Tom Stephenson diving over. But a forward pass nullified the try. At that point Johan Goosen replaced Carter, and the youngster didn’t disappoint. He made a telling break to set up Juan Imhoff for their fifth try to complete the rout, which sees Racing replace the Saints at the top of Pool 3.
Earlier in the day, the Glasgow Warriors hammered Scarlets 43-6 at home. After leading 10-3 at half-time, the Warriors seized control, thanks to Taqele Naiyaravoro’s second-half hat-trick. The former Waratahs winger was devastating, leaving defenders in his wake for his three-try haul that earned him the Man of the Match award. For good measure, replacement Tim Swinson powered over for the Warriors' sixth score to round off the one-sided affair.
Meanwhile, Stade Français trounced Treviso 50-17. They may be struggling in the Top 14, but there was nothing to suggest that Stade will suffer the same fate in the pool stage of the Champions Cup. Seven tries, including one by centre Meyer Bosman, sunk Treviso. Will Genia and Willem Alberts were standout performers for the winners, but captain Sergio Parisse’s all-round contribution netted him Man of the Match.
Elsewhere, the Exeter Chiefs claimed a surprise yet emphatic 31-14 bonus-point victory against Clermont. Having led 14-3 at some point, Clermont were stunned as the Chiefs overturned the deficit to win. Flank Thomas Waldrom continued his rich try-scoring form with a brace to start the Chiefs' fight-back, before two further late tries guided them to an invaluable result.
Dan Biggar starred in the Ospreys’ nail-biting 19-16 win over Bordeaux in Swansea. The Wales playmaker scored all his team’s points via a self-converted try and four penalties. Bordeaux did well to stay in touch throughout, but in the end a red card to wing Jean-Baptiste Dubié (foul play) reduced their chances of upsetting Ospreys on their home turf.
On Friday, Ulster put Toulouse to the sword with an exceptional performance for a 38-0 bonus-point win. Brilliantly marshalled by Ruan Pienaar, the Irish side scored five tries against a Toulouse outfit that looked inept all over. Backs Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey scored, while forwards Chris Henry and Nick Williams also chipped in to complete Toulouse’s humiliation.
Racing (33) – Tries: Brice Dulin (2), Henry Chavancy, Eddy Ben Arous, Juan Imhoff. Conversions: Dan Carter (3), Johan Goosen.
Northampton Saints (3) – Penalty: JJ Hanrahan.
Glasgow Warriors (43) – Tries: Taele Naiyaravoro (3), Duncan Weir, James Malcolm, Tim Swinson. Conversions: Finn Russell (3), Weir (2). Penalty: Weir.
Scarlets (6) – Penalty: Steven Shingler (2).
Treviso (17) – Tries: Samuel Christie, Simone Ragusi, Marco Lazzaroni. Conversion: Jason Hayward.
Stade Français (50) – Tries: Paul Williams (2), Sergio Parisse, Waisea Vuidravuwalu, Julien Arias, Sylvain Nicolas, Meyer Bosman. Conversions: Jules Plisson (6), Penalty: Plisson.
Exeter Chiefs (34) – Tries: Thomas Waldrom (2), Don Armand, Mitch Lees. Conversions: Gareth Steenson (4). Penalty: Steenson.
Clermont (14) – Tries: Hosea Gear, Aurélien Rougerie. Conversions: Morgan Parra (2).
Ospreys (19) – Try: Dan Biggar. Conversion: Biggar. Penalties: Biggar (4).
Bordeaux (16) – Try: Felix le Bourhis. Conversion: Pierre Bernard. Penalties: Bernard (2), Romain Lonca.
Ulster (38) – Tries: Nick Williams, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Chris Henry. Conversions: Paddy Jackson (4), Ian Humphreys. Penalty: Jackson.
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