Racing 92 ease to a resounding European Champions Cup win over Northampton Saints
World Player of the Year Dan Carter converts three tries on debut
Henry Chavancy, Brice Dulin and Eddy Ben Arous crossed for tries in the opening 40 as the hosts led 21-3 at the break
Dulin grabbed a second after the restart to secure the bonus-point before Juan Imhoff touched down to make the win comfortable
World Cup winner Dan Carter ran the show with a masterful debut performance as Racing 92 dismantled Northampton 33-3 at the Yves-du-Manoir for their second successive Champions’ Cup win.
Henry Chavancy, Eddy Ben Arous and Brice Dulin all scored first-half tries, three conversions from Carter putting Racing 21-3 up at the break, either side of JJ Hanrahan’s penalty on 29 minutes.
Dulin got his second on 43 minutes to seal a bonus point for his side, before Juan Jose Imhoff got the hosts’ fifth try, Johan Goosen’s goal rounding off a chastening afternoon for Jim Mallinder’s men.
The pre-game talk surrounded whether Northampton could stifle Dan Carter and co. to help get their floundering season back on track, but the early signs were ominous as racing dominated the early exchanges.
And they soon got the reward their strong start deserved as Chavancy rocked over on the right wing after a sustained spell of pressure on Saints’ line, Carter, who was already making his presence felt, with the goal to make it 7-0 after 13 minutes.
The home side quickly doubled their lead, the 18th minute bringing up a Ben Arous try; ferocious power from the ’92 pack laying the platform for the big prop to crash over. Carter then made it 14-0 with his second goal.
Saints did hit back through a Hanrahan three-pointer, but the hosts got their third try as the minutes ticked down to half time, Dulin picking off a misguided Victor Matfield pass before scorching for the line from 90 metres out, Carter kept up his 100 per cent record with the boot to put his side 18 points up.
Northampton looked to have got themselves a lifeline on the stroke of half-time but a muscling effort from Luther Burrell out wide was controversially disallowed, to the confusion of the visiting contingent.
Showing no mercy, Racing rattled up their bonus-point try within three minutes of the restart, Dulin notching his second after a hulking break and slick offload from 22-stone tighthead Ben Tameifuna.
Carter hit the post with his conversion attempt, and although their dominance waned, their defence stood firm.
As Saints’ impressive offloading game began to come the fore, some pressure finally came towards the Racing line, but a Tom Stephenson try was ruled out due to a forward pass on the hour.
Carter was then brought off for the final quarter, Johan Goosen replacing him, but that didn’t stop Racing’s slick play.
South Africa’s Goosen, 23, ran a sparkling show for the final 17 minutes as the home side put on an exhibition of expansive rugby.
Though errors became more frequent, they did bag themselves a further try late on as wing Imhoff strolled over after a brilliant inside pass from Josevata Rokocoko. Goosen added the extras to make it a 30-point win, to the delight of the 9,000-strong home crowd.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Racing 92: Dan Carter
Not at his outstanding best but, after just two weeks of training with his new club, Carter ran the show. Visibly dictating play and almost faultless with the boot, the New Zealand icon will have enjoyed his introduction to European rugby and looks set to take the Champions’ Cup by storm.
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 (c), 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Johannes Goosen, 22 Alexandre Dumoulin, 23 Maxime Machenaud.
Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 George North 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Christian Day, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Steve Myler, 23 Ah See Tuala.
Date: Saturday, December 12
Venue: Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Mark Patton (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)