European Champions Cup: Scarlets 12-29 Racing 92
|Scarlets (0) 12|
|Tries: Thomas, Rawlins Con: Thomas|
|Racing 92 (26) 29|
|Tries: Machenaud, Rokocoko, Masoe, Andreu Cons: Machenaud 3 Pen: Goosen|
Racing 92 claimed a bonus point before half-time and survived 35 minutes with 14 men to make a winning start to their Champions Cup campaign in Llanelli.
Scarlets were stunned by tries from Maxime Machenaud, Joe Rokocoko, Chris Masoe and Marc Andreu as Racing opened a 26-0 lead in the opening 40 minutes.
Flanker Bernard Le Roux was sent off for a stamp on Phil John within five minutes of the re-start.
But Scarlets managed only two tries through Aled Thomas and Lewis Rawlins.
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Even when reduced to 13 men by Ben Tameifuna's yellow card in the 65th minute, Racing conceded only seven points and managed a penalty through full-back Johannes Goosen and held on comfortably to inflict a first home defeat of the season on the Welsh region.
The French side were playing for the first time in this season's tournament after the postponement of their game against Glasgow following the Paris terrorist attacks.
And they looked sharp and clinical despite conceding 60% possession to Scarlets in the first half.
Machenaud was outstanding at scrum-half, chasing Rokocoko's grubber kick for the opening try and pulling the strings as Racing pounced on every opportunity.
His vision in spotting a blind-side gap enabled Andreu to cross for Racing's bonus point try on the stroke of half-time and effectively end the match as a contest.
Scarlets were on the rack at the start of the second half until referee Greg Garner ruled Le Roux's stamp on John's legs warranted a red card.
But even then, it took Scarlets 10 minutes before Thomas crossed wide on the left after Ken Owens' looped pass.
Giant prop Tameifuna saw yellow after impeding Scarlets at a ruck, and when Rawlins crossed immediately, Scarlets hopes were briefly raised.
Racing, however, showed their experience to lure the home team into conceding a penalty which Goosen fired over to re-establish a two score gap and seal the victory.
What they said
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac said: "The game got away from us in the conditions.
"We didn't stick to the plan and that was to play field position and not be playing in our own half of the field and we didn't execute that and that was disappointing.
"They carried very well and they defended very well one on one which meant they didn't have to commit too much to the breakdown which kept their defensive line intact.
"They were better than us and deserved their win."
Scarlets: Thomas; Tagicakibau, Owen, Parkes, van der Merwe; D. Jones, G. Davies; John, Owens, Edwards, Ball, M. Paulino, A. Shingler, J. Davies, Barclay.
Replacements: Collins for Tagicakibau (73), S. Evans for D. Jones (51), A. Davies for G. Davies (58), D. Evans for John (67), Phillips for Owens (67), Lee for Edwards (44), Price for M. Paulino (73), Rawlins for A. Shingler (51).
Racing 92: Goosen; Rokocoko, Laulala, Chavancy, Andreu; Tales, Machenaud; Brugnaut, Szarzewski, Gomes Sa, Charteris, Van der Merwe, Lauret, Le Roux, Masoe.
Replacements: Imhoff for Andreu (42), Phillips for Machenaud (65), Ben Arous for Brugnaut (51), Chat for Szarzewski (58), Tameifuna for Gomes Sa (55), Dubarry for Van Der Merwe (67), Nyanga for Lauret (74).
Not Used: Dulin.
Sin Bin: Tameifuna (65).
Sent Off: Le Roux (43).
Referee: Greg Garner (England).
Assistant referees: Dean Richards (England) and Peter Allan (Scotland)
TMO: Keith Lewis (England)
Citing Commissioner: Steve Savage (England)