Heineken Cup Pool Four: Racing Metro 8-32 Harlequins
RACING METRO (3) 8
- Le Roux
HARLEQUINS (17) 32
- Evans, Easter, Walker, Dickson
- Evans 3
- Evans 2
Harlequins recorded their first Heineken Cup win of the season as they upset big-spending, but misfiring, Racing Metro with a superb display.
Nick Evans exploited a scattered defence to score Quins' first try, adding a penalty before Nick Easter dived over from close range.
Charlie Walker's breakaway score all but sealed victory despite Bernard le Roux's try on a rare hosts' attack.
Karl Dickson's late try in the midst of a maul secured Quins a bonus point.
But in Racing Metro they faced a team lacking attacking urgency and defensive conviction and the Londoners, coming into the match off four wins, took advantage after 19 minutes.
Quickly recycled ball caught the home defence cold and fly-half Evans burst through a gap before jagging past Juan Martin Hernandez and in under the posts.
The New Zealander added the extras to his own score and only a flailing tackle from Marc Andreu and the video official's interpretation of a marginal touchline call prevented Matt Hopper scoring in the corner shortly afterwards.
Harlequins did not have to wait long for a second, however, as Easter blasted through some flimsy tackling and pirouetted over.
Evans's conversion took Quins into a 17-0 lead, and when Racing Metro sent the subsequent restart out on the full, the crowd whistled their derision at the home side's performance.
Benjamin Dambielle finally got Racing on the board with a penalty in first-half injury time, but the kick could not save him from being replaced by British and Irish Lions fly-half Jonathan Sexton at the break.
It required more than the former Leinster man's introduction to revive big-spending Racing and within five minutes of the second half they conceded a try that summed up a lacklustre performance and all but ensured it would end in defeat.
Full-back Hernandez was under little pressure, but barely got his hands on the ball as he attempted to gather Danny Care's box kick.
Walker swooped to gather possession and should have been tackled by Maxime Machenaud but instead shrugged off the scrum-half with ease before scampering into the corner.
Too little too late, Racing came back into the game.
Sexton's crossfield kick was a little too heavy for another replacement, Juan Imoff, to claim before Le Roux rumbled over at the back of a driven line-out to finally give the Nantes crowd something to cheer.
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips, sacked by Bayonne over contested claims he arrived for training drunk, made his Racing debut off the bench for the final 20 minutes.
The 31-year-old made a trademark powerful break, but he could not prevent opposite number Dickson burrowing over late on to decorate a famous win with a bonus point.
Racing Metro: Hernandez; Fall, Estebanez, Dumoulin, Andreu; Dambielle, Machenaud; Arous, Szarzewski (capt), Ducalcon, van der Merwe, Kruger, Lauret, Le Roux, Nailiko.
Replacements: Imhoff for Andreu (38), Sexton for Dambielle (41), Phillips for Machenaud (61), Gerondeau for Ben Arous (47), Lacombe for Szarzewski (61), Khinchagishili for Ducalcon (47), Ghezal for van der Merwe (68), Mujati for Qovu (47).
Harlequins: Brown; Williams, Hopper, Casson, Smith; Evans, Care; Marler, Ward, Collier, Matthews, Robson, Wallace, Robshaw (capt), Easter.
Replacements: Botica for Hopper (68), Molenaar for Casson (41), Dickson for Care (69), Lambert for Marler (69), Allen for Ward (73), Doran-Jones for Collier (55), Kennedy for Matthews (55), Trayfoot for Easter (73).
Ref: Leighton Hodges (Wales).