Racing 92 14-23 Glasgow Warriors

Racing 92 14-23 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors handed Racing 92 their first home defeat in 11 months, as a defensive masterclass spearheaded an historic 23-14 victory at the Stade Yves du Manoir.

either side of half-time from Alex Dunbar and Ali Price, coupled with the boot
of Finn Russell, saw Gregor Townsend’s men claim a valuable four points to put
themselves in a strong position in the pursuit of a place in the quarter-finals.

With two
teams renowned for their attacking prowess taking to the field on a crisp
December afternoon, the early stages were predictably frenetic. An early break
from Dan Carter almost resulted in a second-minute try for the hosts through Joe
Rokocoko, were it not for a last-ditch tackle from Price on his own five-metre

The Parisians
were in the mood early on, however, and it came as no surprise that the
breakthrough came from Les Ciel et Blancs. A 60 metre surge from Rokocoko took
Racing into the Warriors 22, before a cut-out pass from Maxime Machenaud
allowed Juan Imhoff to stroll over in the corner. Carter converted, and the
hosts led 7-0 after nine minutes.

riposte was immediate. After good work from Simone Favaro and Tim Swinson at
the breakdown had drawn a penalty from referee JP Doyle, Finn Russell was
unerring from the tee to give the visitors their first points of the afternoon
and narrow the gap to four points.

The deficit
was narrowed to just a single point just moments later; whilst good Racing
scramble defence prevented a delightful set-piece move involving Tommy Seymour
and Stuart Hogg ending in a try, they were powerless to prevent Russell punishing
an indiscretion at the breakdown with his second successful penalty attempt just
moments later.

For all
Racing’s attacking intent, it was the visitors that were beginning to control
the flow of the match. From the defensive impact of Favaro and Sam Johnson to
the swashbuckling menace of Hogg and Seymour, there was to be no quarter given
from the visitors.

Then came
the sucker punch from the Warriors, as Gregor Townsend’s men crossed for their
opening try on the half-hour mark. Flirting with the edge of the Racing 22, a sublime
short ball from Russell sent Dunbar clean through the defensive line, with
the centre sprinting over untouched by a Parisian hand. The conversion was
added by Russell to the delight of the Warrior Nation, and Glasgow held a 13-7
lead – an advantage they maintained until the half-time whistle sounded.

If the
travelling supporters could have picked a start to the second half for their
side, then chances are the start made by the Warriors would have been high on
their list. Having regathered the kick-off, the Glasgow pack went to work.
Jonny Gray, Zander Fagerson and Fraser Brown were amongst those to take the
ball ever closer to the Racing try-line, before Russell’s dart saw him held up
just short. Instead it was half-back partner Price that applied the finishing
touch by touching the ball against the base of the post, Russell dusting
himself down to add the extras and take the score to 20-7 in favour of the

It wasn’t
just from the tee that Russell was finding joy with the boot, with the Glasgow
fly-half – along with Price and Hogg – providing a clinic in tactical kicking at
the Stade Yves du Manoir. With the Warriors defence turning in hit after hit
with aplomb, the hosts were being made to work for any semblance of yardage
under the Parisian evening sky.

There was no
let-up from the Warriors defence in the face of wave after wave of Racing
attack, with Favaro and Dunbar leading the charge. With 15 minutes to play, the
visitors struck a crucial blow – a kick in behind the defence from Russell
allowed Ryan Wilson to force Imhoff into conceding a penalty, and saw Russell handed
a third shot at goal of the match. The Glasgow fly-half was ice cool as he
maintained his impeccable record, handing his team a 23-7 lead and putting them
in sight of the all-important win.

Racing were
in no mood to roll over, however, and dragged themselves back into contention
with nine minutes remaining. Taking an inside ball from Brice Dulin, Carter
showed just enough pace and strength to cross the whitewash under pressure from
Alex Allan and Lee Jones before converting his own try to cut the deficit to
nine points.

Yet with one
final defensive effort – characterised by a textbook covering tackle from Alex
Allan on Wenceslas Lauret – it would be the Warriors celebrating at full-time,
with referee Doyle’s final whistle sparking scenes of delight amongst the
travelling fans. A 23-14 victory secured, and a famous afternoon in Paris for
Glasgow rugby.

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