European Champions Cup: Racing 92 33-3 Northampton Saints
Last updated on .From the section Rugby Union
|European Champions Cup Rugby|
|Racing Metro 92 33 (21)|
|Tries: Chavancy, Ben Arous, Dulin 2, Imhoff Cons: Carter 3, Goosen|
|Northampton Saints 3 (3)|
Dan Carter started his Racing Metro career by kicking six points in a resounding European Champions Cup win over Northampton Saints.
The New Zealand fly-half converted first-half tries from Henry Chavancy, Eddy Ben Arous and Brice Dulin.
Dulin's second score after the break secured the bonus point and Juan Imhoff finished a stylish move late on.
Racing replace Saints at the top of Pool Three, despite having played one game less than the Premiership side.
It was a first defeat in five games for Saints, whose prospects of progressing from their group could well rest on next week's reverse fixture at Franklin's Gardens.
Crafty Carter shows Racing's potential
With all eyes on Carter, 33, who ended a 112-match Test career by helping the All Blacks win the World Cup just six weeks ago, the legendary fly-half showed trademark control with the boot as well as the hunger to break beyond the gain line and pile into the Saints defence.
But it was his forwards who caused the bulk of the damage, pummelling the Saints rearguard throughout the first half in a display that marked Racing as genuine contenders for European silverware.
Carter, world rugby's highest points scorer, whose move to Racing made him the best-paid player in the sport, was involved in the first try, drawing the tackle that found its way from the breakdown to Joe Rokocoko, who spread out wide for Chavancy to cross.
Ben Arous finished a series of thumping drives by picking and going five metres from the line before Dulin intercepted a wayward Victor Matfield pass to run in a score from within his own 22.
With a JJ Hanrahan penalty the only Northampton score of the half, England centre Luther Burrell was unfortunate to have his solo effort ruled out by the on-field referee, who used replays on the big screens to decide the ball was touched down out of play because of a technical fault in the communication with the television match official.
Dulin scored his second try after taking a superb one-handed offload from the bulking frame of prop Ben Tameifuna, although Carter's only miscue of the day saw him clip his conversion against he post.
Saints improved in the latter stages, seeing plenty more of the ball, but the Top 14 side showed their class when Imhoff polished off a flowing move from one side of the pitch to the other with five minutes remaining.
Views from the dressing room
Racing fly-half Dan Carter said: "I was a little bit nervous before the game, I was unsure about how I would go after having six weeks off after the World Cup.
"I was blowing a bit towards the end but hopefully I can keep building on this performance because it's brilliant to be here playing for this great club.
"The forward pack laid the foundation all game and give us go-forward and made it pretty easy for the back line."
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: "We came up against a very good Racing team that started very well and put us under a lot of pressure and got the two early tries.
"I thought we were coming back into the game and then unfortunately Victor Matfield gave away the interception when we had men over and that could have made a big difference for us.
"Then we had the ridiculous situation before the break where the referee could not consult with the TMO because it was not working, the same thing happened in France last year and we didn't get anything going our way."
Racing 92: Dulin; Rokocoko, Laulala, Chavancy, Imhoff; Carter, Phillips; Ben Arous, Szarzewski, Tameifuna; Charteris, Van Der Merwe; Lauret, Nyanga, Masoe.
Replacements: Goosen for Carter (63), Brugnaut for Ben Arous (53), Chat for Szarzewski (59), Gomes Sa for Tameifuna (59), Claassen for Masoe (67).
Not Used: Carizza, Dumoulin, Machenaud.
Northampton: Foden; Elliott, Burrell, Stephenson, North; Hanrahan, L Dickson; . Waller, Haywood, Brookes; Paterson, Matfield; Lawes, Harrison, S Dickinson.
Replacements: Tuala for Burrell (65), Myler for Hanrahan (57), Fotuali'i for L. Dickson (57), E. Waller for A. Waller (47), Williams for Haywood (59), Hill for Brookes (57), C. Day for Matfield (57), Gibson for S. Dickinson (53).
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).