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Tigers see off Racing for opening Euro win

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Leicester Tigers produced a performance full of battling spirit to record a famous Champions Cup victory over defending French champions Racing 92.

Brendon O’Connor’s third-minute score set the tone for another stirring European occasion at Welford Road and put Tigers on the way to 27-17 victory over last season's Champions Cup runners-up.
 
Owen Williams kicked two penalties to one by New Zealand legend Dan Carter as Tigers led 11-3 at the break.
 
Carter’s try early in the second half set Tigers back before replacement Freddie Burns grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck just after the hour.
 
He kicked two quick-fire penalties before scoring a 70m intercept try to give Tigers breathing space.
 
Juan Imhoff, the Argentina winger, scored with five minutes remaining to give the visitors hope but Burns landed a late penalty to send Racing home empty-handed.
 
There was a first start at Welford Road for Matt Toomua, while South Africa international JP Pietersen made his Champions Cup debut, coming onto the wing in place of Tom Brady. Marcos Ayerza and Ed Slater returned to the forward pack in the only other changes following last week’s opener in Glasgow.
 
Before kick-off, there was a moving minute’s silence in memory of Anthony Foley, the Munster head coach and former back-rower, who died last week.
 
The crowd were given plenty of reason to cheer within three minutes of the kick-off. Tigers showed bravery in going for the corner with a kickable penalty, and then won another penalty under the posts as Chris Masoe failed to roll. Toomua went close before O’Connor was free at the right corner to dot down.
 
Referee Marius Mitrea was hot on players not rolling and was quick to ping Lachlan McCaffrey after he lost his footing. Carter kicked a simple penalty to put Racing’s first points on the board. Johannes Goosen then missed a long-range effort in the 10th minute to put Racing into the lead.
 
Referee Mitrea was quick on his whistle again as Racing went off their feet, but Williams was also wide with his kick from 40m.
 
Tigers made a change in the 18th minute when Barrow took a bang in a tackle and was replaced by Graham Kitchener.
 
After the excitement of the early try, the game developed into a cagey, tactical affair before bursting back into life in the 18th minute. Toomua and Pietersen made half breaks that got fans on their feet before Toomua was caught in two minds with an overlap on his outside.
 
Toomua lost possession and was hurt in the tackle but Tigers regained the ball and won a penalty for offside, which was banged over by Williams for a 8-3 lead.
 
It was Toomua’s last involvement and the centre limped off to be replaced by Peter Betham.
 
The Tigers defence stood strong on their own line in the face of a wave of Racing attacks, repelling barrelling runs by Masoe and Ben Tameifuna before forcing a knock-on in the shadow of their posts.
 
Tigers had the edge in the early scrums and eased the pressure on their line by winning a penalty at the resulting set-piece. Williams then found touch on the Racing 10m line to take Tigers back on the attack.
 
Superb work by Ed Slater and Marcos Ayerza had Carter under all sorts of pressure as he tried to gather a bouncing ball on the Racing 22. However, Carter won the referee’s call for Tigers going off their feet, despite the Welford Road crowd demanding the holding-on penalty.
 
Kitchener then produced a stunning try-saving tackle to get back to halt Maxime Machenaud 15m from the Leicester line. Tigers stole possession, Ben Youngs kicked long where Tameifuna was in the back field. He was put under pressure and Tigers eventually forced the knock-on at the end of a breathless passage.
 
Tigers won another scrum penalty and Williams kicked them into an 11-3 lead just before the break.

Tigers had to survive one late scare when Carter turned defence into attack with a step past Adam Thompstone in his own in-goal. The ball eventually reached Goosen on the right who chipped into the Tigers in-goal but Pietersen won the race to touch down.
 
Tigers were pegged back early in the second period when Carter scythed through to score. There appeared to be little danger when he gathered possession on the 22 but he isolated Ayerza and held off a couple of attempted tackles to dot down. Carter converted to leave Tigers 11-10 ahead.
 
Tigers looked to make an immediate response as Tait accelerated past Henry Chavancy in midfield. Carter somehow made the tap tackle to wrong-foot Tait with runners either side. Tigers continued to press but Ed Slater was eventually pinged for coming in at the side.
 
The hosts put behind them the defensive mistake that led to Carter’s try to snare Machenaud at the back of a ruck and win the scrum put-in. They won yet another scrum penalty and Freddie Burns, on for Williams, kicked them deep into Racing territory.
 
The introduction of Logovi’i Mulipola gave Tigers extra impetus around the fringes, and he had three big carries in the attack to take Tigers to within 5m of the line. Racing went off their feet under their posts and Burns kicked a simple penalty to put Leicester 14-10 ahead.
 
Viliami Afatia, Racing’s replacement prop, obstructed Kitchener as he tried to charge down a kick and Burns landed his second penalty in as many minutes to move the hosts 17-10 up just after the hour.
 
Burns made a huge and ultimately decisive intervention moments later. The fly-half intercepted Machenaud’s pass on the Leicester 22 and raced to the other end to score Tigers’ second try of the game. Burns composed himself to add the conversion to double Tigers’ advantage.
 
Tait produced a brilliant tackle on Carter to prevent the former All Black making an immediate response. Carter was just short as he reached for the line before he lost control of the ball. Veainu took a blow in the build-up and was taken off the field on a stretcher as a precaution. It forced a rejig in the backline. Sam Harrison came on at winger with Pietersen switched to full-back.
 
Racing gave themselves a lifeline with five minutes remaining. The visitors sucked in the fringe defence with a series of drives and then found Juan Imhoff on the left flank for a smart finish. Carter landed the touchline conversion to cut the lead to 24-17.
 
Brice Dulin then conceded a silly penalty at the restart by playing on after being tackled. Burns punished him with the kick to move Leicester 10 points ahead and ensure Racing left Welford Road without a single match point.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 11-3 RAC

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 27-17 RAC

Attendance

19,048

Referee

Marius Mitrea

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Racing 92
Possession
48%
52%
Territory
49%
51%
Penalties Conceded
9
14
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
113/132 86%
79/92 86%
Scrums Won
10/11 9%
6/6 0%
Lineouts Won
12/12 100%
10/10 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Racing 92
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Telusa Veainu
14
13
12
11
102P
9Ben Youngs
1Marcos Ayerza
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Ed Slater
5
6
71T
8Lachlan McCaffrey
16George McGuigan
17Logovi'i Mulipola
18Greg Bateman
19Graham Kitchener
20Will Evans
21
221T1C3P
23Peter Betham
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
27

Full Time

Racing 92
Racing 92
17

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

11
10
Marcos Ayerza
1
Marcos Ayerza
Ed Slater
4
Ed Slater
5
Lachlan McCaffrey
8
Lachlan McCaffrey

Subs

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Brice Dulin
14
13
Johan Goosen
12
Henry Chavancy
11
Juan Imhoff
10
9
Maxime Machenaud
1
Eddy Ben Arous
2
Camille Chat
3
Ben Tameifuna
4
Leone Nakarawa
5
6
Wenceslas Lauret
7
Yannick Nyanga
8
Chris Masoe

Subs

16
17
Viliamu Afatia
18
Luc Ducalcon
19
20
Thibault Dubarry
21
22
Albert Vulivuli
23
Anthony Tuitavake
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
3
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI620461190-129323008
4
Racing 92
Racing 92RAC610589130-411214105
Form Guide
Form
WDWDD
Last Match
Draw with Bayonne null-null
Past Meeting
Lost 11-34
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
WWLWW
Last Match
Beat Saracens 19-15
Past Meeting
Won 34-11