Northampton 9-9 Racing Metro: Dan Carter and Stephen Myler kick sky blues and Saints to draw in the European Champions Cup
Racing 92 led 6-3 at the break compliments of two Dan Carter penalties at Franklin’s Gardens
England head coach Eddie Jones watched as consistent Saints performer Kieran Brookes limped off after 28 minutes
Saints have now just scored one try in four matches following the draw
Northampton and Racing Metro lacked the quality to unlock each others stubborn defences and took a share of the spoils in what was a scrappy European Champions Cup clash from start to finish at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.
On only his second appearance since the Rugby World Cup final, Dan Carter followed up his fantastic display in last weekend’s victory as he kicked Racing Metro to what could be a crucial draw against Northampton with three penalties.
All eyes were on the All Black legend as he kicked the visitors to a 6-3 half-time lead with Stephen Myler’s kick getting Saints’ on the board in what was a scrappy opening 40.
Northampton would have been pleased to be in the game at the half way stage following last weekend where in the reverse fixture they found themselves trailing by 18 points at the break.
Nevertheless, Saints would have been frustrated to lose their star performer in recent weeks, Kieran Brookes, to injury after 28 minutes.
The second half performance from the pair proved to be just as mediocre with Myler outkicking Carter two penalties to one to mean the game ultimately ended with the two sides level.
Myler struck Northampton ahead from 45m out with a penalty after 11 minutes, but World Player of the Year Carter responded for Racing seven minutes to level the scores, 3-3.
Saints then lost their powerhouse prop Brookes and the injury proved costly as just before the forwards withdrawal Saints scrum buckled with referee Nigel Owen awarding the penalty against them.
Dan Carter called for the tee and stepped up to kick the resulting three-pointer to put Racing ahead for the first time just shy of the half hour despite the French visitors spending barely a minute in Saints’ 22.
That scrappy opening 40 saw a lot of mistakes from both sides, but it was the visitors who held a narrow lead, 3-6.
Saints started the second-half brightly but despite their superior possession and territory, they were not able to get past Racing’s impenetrable defence, meaning they weren’t able to turn their dominance into points.
Ultimately the hosts settled with the three points as Myler put over his second penalty of the game after 50 minutes to level the scores once again to the delight of the home fans, 6-6.
Five minutes later the Saints’ fly-half had the opportunity to put Saints’ into the lead but dragged his penalty from half way wide of the left post.
And it proved costly as Carter continued his consistency from the tee to kick yet another penalty for the visitors on the hour mark, 6-9
However, a mini-brawl followed soon after, and a neck grab from Racing’s Wenceslas Lauret gave Myler an opportunity to equalize for the hosts, and he took it with a sweetly struck three-pointer, setting up a grandstand finish.
Having been named man-of-the-match on his debut in Paris last week, Carter almost gifted victory to the hosts in the 66th minute. Deep in his in-goal area, the Kiwi’s clearance kick was charged down by George Pisi, but Jamie Elliott was held up just short and that proved to be the best chance as neither team was able to find what would be the decisive winning score.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Northampton: Teimana Harrison
The back-row did a terrific job, competing vigorously at the break down to frustrate the visitors forwards, who had run rampant against Saints just a week ago. The 23-year-old individually also shone with some strong carrying, which helped Saints dominate both possession and territroy.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ah See Tuala, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Christian Day, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Jamie Elliott.
Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Juan Imhoff; 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Marc Andreu.
Date: Friday, December 18
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)