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Match report | Champions Cup in Paris

Leicester Tigers were beaten 36-26 by Racing 92 in Pool 4 of the Heineken Champions Cup in Paris on Sunday but returned home with a try bonus after scoring four times in the unique surrounds of the La Defense Arena.

It was scant reward for a battling and enterprising performance from Tigers who twice found themselves a man short due to yellow cards.

Racing were 12 points to the good with two tries during a period when Manu Tuilagi was in the sin-bin early on, but Tigers got a foothold in the game with a first try of the season for Jonah Holmes who then left the field with an injury.

Two more tries for the French side secured their bonus point just after the half-hour before Tigers, who were well in the game throughout the opening 40 minutes, responded with Sione Kalamafoni’s close-range try to make it 26-14 at the interval.

Tigers also claimed the opening score of the second half with a try from Tuilagi, showing pace and power on the touchline to bring it back to 26-19.

But a penalty from Finn Russell provided some vital daylight before a fifth score from Racing and, although Adam Thompstone ran in a bonus-point score for the visitors after superb work from skipper George Ford, they could not find another one in closing moments to take an extra consolation.

Playing in the unique indoor surroundings and artificial pitch of the stunning La Defense Arena, Racing were defending their unbeaten start in the pool following wins over Scarlets away and Ulster in Paris in the opening two rounds.

Geordan Murphy brought Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau in to the Tigers team, while adding Mike Fitzgerald and Harry Wells to the forward pack following league defeat at Bristol, and there was a starting place for young scrum-half Ben White with Ben Youngs among the replacements. Guy Thompson returned to the squad after missing two games with a leg injury and Will Evans came in for his first European Cup involvement of the season.

Wearing the club’s traditional red, white and green colours, Tigers got the game under way after the light show and fire-and-flames razzmatazz of the arena and spent the opening three minutes in the attacking 22, recycling efficiently and getting the ball through hands in the forwards and also bringing in Manu Tuilagi and Matt Toomua in midfield.

George Ford had the visiting fans’ hearts in mouths momentarily as he slipped in fielding a kick, but recovered to offload smartly for Tigers to begin a counter-attack.

But there was a warning sign soon afterwards when Racing hooker Dmitri Szarzewski broke through a gap on an inside ball before the defence covered and won turnover ball in the counter-ruck.

Turnover ball in attack from Tigers, though, gave Racing impetus in the middle of the field and brought their first points.

They were looking to exploit extra numbers on their right when Tuilagi was penalised for deliberate knock-on and he was in the sin-bin as Leone Nakarawa reached over the line to score following the attacking lineout.

Another attack threatened less than two minutes later, with Jonah Holmes called into action in defence on the right touchline.

Tigers invited more pressure when they were dispossessed following their own lineout drive but the defence stood up just in front of the tryline until finally forcing an error in the Racing backline.

The numerical imbalance was perfectly illustrated as Racing claimed a second try on 12 minutes, moving the ball simply from right to left to free wing Juan Imhoff for a run in against the short-handed defence to make it 12-0.

It seemed harsh on Tigers after a promising start and the next score was going to be vital – and it was not long in coming.

Tigers forced an error in the Racing 22 and from the scrum, White went to the right and picked out Holmes who showed enough strength to recover his footing from an attempted tackle and dived in to the right of the posts. Ford made it 12-7 with the conversion.

After recovering possession at the restart, Ford kicked clear from the edge of his 22 but got too much on it and the ball bounced dead 80 metres upfield, bringing play right back to Tigers territory as Tuilagi returned.

From the scrum, Racing created space for Simon Zebo on the right but Holmes and May combined to take him into touch just short of the line.

Zebo, though, fed off another inside ball from Russell to add Racing’s third try on 24 minutes and the Scotland fly-half added the kick to make it 19-7.

Holmes left the field with injury moments later, with Matt Smith coming on.

Racing knocked-on at a lineout on their own 22, giving Tigers a scrum which then brought a penalty but, after going to the corner, the hosts got up in front of Harry Wells to steal possession and the chance was gone.

Tigers, though, kept their hosts pinned inside their own 22, with Toomua looking to release May on a dangerous line before the defence cut him down.

Tatafu Polota-Nau then broke through the French defensive line before a quick turnover of ball almost brought a fourth score at the other end as Teddy Iribaren cleverly kicked upfield and Brice Dulin won the race but, after kicking ahead, he was just short of making the vital touch, though he celebrated behind the deadball line before referee Nigel Owens confirmed no try with the assistance from the TMO.

The respite did not last long, though, as back-rower Baptiste Chouzenoux forced his way over after Ellis Genge had brought down Nakarawa near the line moments later.

A kick into the corner from Toomua looked for Thompstone but Iribaren covered just a few metres out from the tryline and hacked into touch.

Tigers, though ,were not to be denied as a strong lineout drive on the right allowed the forwards to exert some control and, after Polota-Nau had spun his way just short of the line, Kalamafoni picked up to dive over for the try. Ford added the kick to make it 26-14 with 90 seconds still to play in the half.

A knock-on from Brendon O;Connor, fielding a high kick deep in defence, meant the half would finish in Tigers territory and, after being penalised at the set-piece, Russell called for the kicking tee but shanked the kick to the right of the posts as Owens brought the half to a close.

A scrappy start to the second half was halted as Genge and Kalamafoni lined up a big tackle on prop Eddy Ben Arous who remained grounded and required lengthy treatment before being stretchered off.

Play restarted with Tigers put-in at a scrum midway inside their own half and wityhin seconds, Tuilagi was at the other end celebrating a try.

Tigers certainly had the push on at the scrum before releasing May on a 40-metre run on the left and when play spread the opposite way Mike Fitzgerald showed great timing and awareness to pass on to Tuilagi who beat the defence down the touchline to score wide on the right and bring Tigers back to within one score of the hosts at 26-19 with 44 minutes gone.

Desperate defence from Tigers was required to keep their rivals out moments later, carrying several times towards the posts and Smith making a timely tackle on Zebo as he closed in out wide.

But a knock-on in contact under the posts gave Racing put-in ball at the scrum,  but the set-piece ended with Genge yellow-carded and Russell knocked over the penalty to take the advantage back into double figures at 29-19.

No8 Antonie Claassens picked off a long pass from Ford in midfield to get Racing forward but the Tigers fly-half reacted sharply to cover Imhoff’s break and May was able to win the race to the loose ball behind his own tryline.

Iribaren was then denied a try after exchanging passes with Nakarawa to dot down in the corner, only for the referee to call play back for a forward pas. replays showed the scrum-half had also gone into touch as he reached to score,

Tigers again toughed it out in defence under their posts as Nakarawa threatened to find a way through, but had to call Campese Ma’afu on as a temporary front rower in Genge’s absence with O’Connor making way and Smith joining the back row for a scrum before Ford booted clear.

But Russell finally unpicked the defence with a 30-metre run from halfway and, when May brought down Nakarawa, ckentre Oliver Klemenczak reacted quickly to take the offload and score in the left-hand corner. Russell added a perfect kick from out wide to make it 36-19.

Geordan Murphy refreshed the pack with the introduction of Jake Kerr and Mike Williams as Genge returned from the yellow card.

Smith chased his own chip ahead and momentarily it looked like a promising position for Tigers but Racing came away with the ball and the defence had to recover. Smith stayed down and was replaced by Ben Youngs as Murphy was forced into a reshuffle with the game approaching its final 15 minutes.

A trademark charge from Genge took Tigers 40 metres upfield, with support latching on quickly as he stayed on his feet in the tackle, ended in the 22 but Tigers were unable to work an opening as Racing tracked back.

The visitors were still looking for a fourth try to take something out of the game, May twice providing hope with runs from his new berth at full-back and Guy Thompson injecting fresh pace in the back row,.

The enterprise was rewarded on 70 minutes when Ford picked off a pass on his own 22, raced up to halfway and kicked ahead. Although, Zebo beat him to it, he poked the ball into touch and Foerd reacted quickly to throw straight to Thompstone to score. Toomua added a drop-goal conversion as the referee checked the legality of the score before confirming the try.

A high tackle from Youngs was penalised on halfway but Russell missed touch and May kicked clear, though a chance was lost when Tigers missed a lineout throw 20 metres out with five minutes left on the clock.

White’s burst of pace and long pass to the right gave more impetus to the visitors until referee Owens penalised Mike Williams in possession 25 metres out, but they responded with another attack from deep, Ford and Tuilagi carrying impressively, only to be denied by spilled ball as they looked to load the right-hand side.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

RAC 26-14 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

RAC 36-26 LEI

Attendance

16,538

Referee

Nigel Owens

Match Stats

Racing 92
Leicester Tigers
Possession
56%
44%
Territory
59%
41%
Penalties Conceded
2
9
Yellow Cards
0
2
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
118/146 81%
152/190 80%
Scrums Won
5/5 100%
7/7 100%
Lineouts Won
12/14 86%
9/12 75%

Player Stats

Racing 92
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Jonah Holmes1T
14Adam Thompstone1T
13Manu Tuilagi1T
12Matt Toomua1C
11Jonny May
10George Ford2C
9Ben White
1Ellis Genge
2Tatafu Polota-Nau
3Dan Cole
4Will Spencer
5Harry Wells
6Michael Fitzgerald
7Brendon O'Connor
8Sione Kalamafoni1T
16Jake Kerr
17Campese Ma'afu
18Gaston Cortes
19Mike Williams
20Will Evans
21Guy Thompson
22Ben Youngs
23Matt Smith
Racing 92
Racing 92
36

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
26
Racing 92
T
C
T
T
C
T
C
P
T
C
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
C
T
T
C

Commentary

80

Thank you!

A huge thank you to all the travelling fans who have joined us in Paris this weekend, we hope you have a safe journey home. 

We will see you for the return fixture at Welford Road next Sunday at 1pm. 

Full-Time

Racing 36 Tigers 26 

80

Quick Ball

Racing look to go quick and get it out to the wing with a long pass out wide but there's some back and forth with the ball before Racing recover it and kick to touch to end the match. 

79

Tigers Defence

Tigers look to have a won a turnover as Racing run it from the scrum but the referee calls a penalty. 

78

What Hands

Racing win the lineout and create a driving maul, as they look to run it Guy Thompson turns over and it is Tigers on the attack with some good hands but there is a knock-on and Racing have the scrum inside their half. 

77

Tigers look to run

Tigers look good with the ball as we run it back at Racing and into their half but Racing win a turnover penalty at the breakdown, they kick for the lineout inside Tigers half. 

75

Turnover

Racing win the balll at the lineout and with a few phases kick it downfield, Ben Youngs recovers the ball and kicks clear for the lineout inside the Racing half. 

74

More end to end

Both sides look to run the ball from the restart and it's Tigers who win a penalty on half-way, kicking for the lineout inside the Racing 22. 

Tigers Conversion

Matt Toomua with the conversion to make it 36-26 after 70 minutes. 

Tigers Try

George Ford intercept is run back at Racing before chipping ahead, Zebo kicks into touch, Ford quickly picks up and passed into Adam Thompstone who runs in to score. 

69

End to End

Absolute madness here as from a Racing attack George Ford takes an intercept pass and runs it back at Racing and some quick play looks like they have scored but it is being checked. 

67

Tigers Ball

Tigers win a free-kick from the scrum and it is all running rugby from there as Tigers continue to run the ball at the Racing defence.

Ellis Genge has a HUGE carry from out half up into the Racing 22 fighting off tacklers before a knock-on in the next few phases of play give Racing a scrum on their 22. 

64

Side to Side

There is some play in the midfield from the lineout there is a knock-on from Racing to give Tigers a scrum on our 10 metre line. 

Tigers Replacements

Gaston Cortez, Guy Thompson and Ben Youngs replace Dan Cole, Brendon O'Connor and Matt Smith. 

63

End to End

It's some more running end to end from the restart, both sides making breaks before Racing make a break down the far wing but Manu pushes the ball carrier into touch for a Tigers lineout on our 22. 

Tigers Replacements

Ellis Genge is back on from the sin-bin with Brendon O'Connor for Campese Ma'afu, Mike Williams replaces Will Spencer. 

Racing Conversion

Finn Russell lands the touchline conversion to make it 36-19 after 60 minutes. 

Racing Try

Tigers kick clear from the scrum but Racing make a break as they run it back and there's a show of speed to get the ball into the corner before Olivier Klemenczak crashes over from short range to score. 

57

Good Work

Tigers show good defence as Racing win the lineout and try to run it but knock-on in the midfield for a Tigers scrum on our 10 metre line. 

56

Reset Scrums

We have a few reset scrums before Tigers get the ball and kick clear for a lineout on our 10 metre line. 

54

Racing on the Attack

Racing build phases and work through the Tigers 22 up to the tryline but Tigers hold strong and win a scrum for a knock-on from Racing. 

Racing Replacement

Ben Tameifuna, Dominic Bird and Louis Dupichot are on for Racing in place of Cedate Gomez Sa, Bernard Le Roux and Brice Dulin. 

52

Kick Clear

Tigers get the ball from the scrum and kick for touch to give Racing the lineout outside our 22. 

Racing

Ben Tameifuna, Dominic Bird and Louis Dupichot are on for Racing. 

Tigers Replacement

Campese Ma'afu makes his way on to the pitch for Brendon O'Connor as Ellis Genge is still in the sin-bin. 

52

End to End

Tigers kick the restart and Racing look to run it straight back, finding a gap out wide but as Racing look to offload for the try there is a forward pass and Tigers have the scrum inside our 22. 

50

Good Defence

Tigers win a turnover as Racing have the ball from the restart and look to run it wide but there's an intercepted pass and Racing on the attack. 

Racing kick ahead into space and it's Imhoff chasing it again but George Ford shows his speed to beat him there and the ball is dotted down for a 22 restart. 

Racing Penalty

Finn Russell lands the penalty to make the score 29-19 after 48 minutes. 

Yellow Card Tigers

Racing win a penalty at the scrum and the referee shows Tigers Ellis Genge a yellow card. 

Racing Replacement

Dimitri Szarzewski is replaced by Ole Avei. 

47

Frantic Rugby

Tigers defence is again tested as Racing go quickly but they are held out, there's advantage for Racing and they get the scrum as there is a knock-on in the contact. 

46

Tigers Defence

Tigers defence is tested as Racing go quick from the lineout and build phases before winning a penalty at a breakdown inside Tigers 22. 

44

Good Work

Tigers with the ball from the restart take it well and it's a good clearing kick but as Racing run it back they win a penalty at the breakdown and they kick for the lineout outside Tigers 22. 

43

Missed Conversion

Ford is just wide with the conversion so it remains 26-19 to Racing after 43 minutes. 

Tigers Try

What a team try! The ball is passed out wide from the scrum and Jonny May shows his speed on the wing to get up to the Racing 10 metre line before the ball is passed back to the other wing and Mike Fitzgerald holds on to the ball before offloading to Manu who dodges a tackler on the touchline to run it in and score. 

Racing Substitution

The Racing player Eddy Ben Arous is stretchered off the pitch and Guram Gogichashvili makes his way onto the pitch to replace him. 

41

Good Defensive Start

Tigers take the restart and a clearing kick is well chased down, Racing look to run it back at Tigers and get back into our half but there is a loose ball in a ruck and Tigers have the ball for a scrum. 

There's a short break in play for an injury to a Racing player. 

Kick-off

Finn Russell and Racing kick-off the second-half here in Paris. 

40

We're Back

Tigers and Racing make their way back out on to the pitch as we prepare for the second-half. 

Half-time

Racing 26 Tigers 14 

40

Missed Penalty

Finn Russell is wide with the penalty and the referee blows for half-time.

40

Reset Scrums

After a reset scrum the referee blows for a penalty for Racing and they point to the posts. 

38

Loose Ball

Both teams try kicking ahead from the restart and Racing come out on top as there is a knock-on Tigers 22 as we try to collect a high ball for a Racing scrum. 

Tigers Conversion

Tigers add the conversion through George Ford to make it 26-14 after 27 minutes. 

Tigers Try

Tigers with a driving maul from the lineout, run it and build phases, with a break from Tatafu before Sione Kalamafoni dives over the ruck to score Tigers second try of the match. 

35

Tigers Attack

Racing kick the ball back to Racing from the restart and there's a chip ahead into space in the Racing 22 and Adam Thompstone looks to chase down to score but Racing kicks it clear for a Tigers lineout. 

Racing Conversion

Finn Russell adds the conversion to make it 26-7 after 34 minutes. 

Racing Try

Racing with the ball from the lineout it run into Tigers 22 and build a few phases before their big carriers make it up to the 5 metre line and Baptiste Chouzenoux crashes over to score. 

32

Your Ball, Our Ball

Tigers kick the restart and Racing chip it back for Tigers to run it from our 22, there's a few phases and a good break from Ellis Genge but the ball is ripped, Racing chip ahead but it goes straight to Jonny May who kicks to touch.

31

No Try

The referee calls no try, the ball goes dead and Imhoff is just short off the ball so it's a restart for Tigers from the 22. 

31

Manic Minute

The ball goes loose after a break from Tatafu and the ball is run back by Racing, chipped ahead and Juan Imhoff is claiming a try but the referee calls to the TMO to check. 

30

Loose Ball

There's another turnover at the lineout and Racing with a few phases kick it clear and Tigers are on the attack again, looking to get out wide. 

29

Good Pressure

Tigers on the attack on the wing but there is a knock-on, Racing with some phases look to kick it clear but it goes out on the full for a Tigers lineout just outside the Racing 22. 

28

Turnover, we go again

There's a turnover at the lineout and Racing kick it clear but it stays in play and Tigers are back on the attack runnning back to attack the Racing 22. 

26

Tigers Ball

Tigers win a penalty at the scrum and kick for the lineout in the corner. 

26

Tigers Ball

There's a knock-on in the lineout from Racing and Tigers have the scrum on Racings 22 on the 5 metre line. 

Tigers Substitution

Tigers full-back Jonah Holmes is off for a HIA and Matt Smith is on to replace him. 

25

Tigers on the attack

Racing kick the ball back to Tigers from the restart after a charge down kick from Tatafu so it is Tigers on the attack and a chip ahead goes into touch for a Racing lineout on their 22. 

Racing Conversion

Finn Russell adds the conversion to make it 19-7 after 24 minutes. 

Try Racing

Racing keep going with their attack and Simon Zebo finds a gap to break through and runs in to score. 

22

Turnover

Tigers get a turnover at the lineout and look to run it out of our 22 but Racing win a turnover so it is Tigers in defence on our 22. 

21

Tigers Win back the ball

Racing with the lineout but Tigers get the ball and Manu makes a break to get Tigers into the Racing half but the referee blows the whistle for a penalty. Racing kick for the lineout. 

20

Tigers Ball

Tigers get the lineout ball and quickly kick clear for a Racing lineout on our 10 metre line 

19

Quick Feet

Racing run it wide to the wing and Simon Zebo tries to step in to score but Tigers covering tackles puts him into touch for a Tigers lineout in the corner. 

18

Unfortunate Bounce

Tigers look to kick clear from the restart but it's an unfortunate bounce the ball bounces dead, so we go back for a Racing scrum on our 22. Manu also returns from the sin-bin as we set for the scrum. 

Tigers Conversion

George Ford adds the conversion for Tigers to make it 12-7 after 16 minutes. 

Tigers Try

Ben White runs it from the scrum and passes it out to Jonah Holmes who fights off tackles to run in and score Tigers first points of the match. 

14

Good Pressure

Tigers with the pressure at the kick-off and force a knock-on from Racing to give Tigers a scrum on their 22. 

13

Missed Conversion

Racing are just wide with the conversion to the score remains 12-0 after 13 minutes. 

Racing Try

Racing go wide from the lineout and make the extra man count as they run out to the wing and winger Juan Imhoff runs it in to score. 

12

Turnover Ball

Tigers win the lineout but the ball is turned over in the breakdown and Racing go quick out wide. The ball goes loose but Jonny May gets a boot to it and kicks ahead, he's unable to get another boot to it before it goes into touch for a lineout outside the 22. 

10

Quick Restart

Racing run the ball from the restart and make a break down the wing but the ball carrier is pushed into touch for a Tigers lineout outside our 22. 

Racing Conversion

Racing add the conversion through Finn Russell to make it 7-0 after 9 minutes. 

Try Racing

Racing are quick off the lineout and with a few phases Leone Nakarawa breaks through to score the first points of the match. 

Yellow Card Tigers

Referee shows Manu Tuilagi a yellow card for a knock-on and Racing kick to the corner. 

7

Frantic Stuff

Racing go quick from the lineout and it is end-to-end as both sides make breaks and some chips ahead but Racing get a break into the Tigers 22 and it looks like a knock-on from Tigers. 

4

Break and Recovery

Racing with the lineout make a break into Tigers half but  a loose pass is intercepted by Ben Youngs and Tigers again with the ball, kicking ahead for another lineout on the half-way. 

3

End to End

Tigers win the lineout but there is a loose ball in a tackle, Racing kick ahead but Tigers recover and work the ball back out of our 22 where Brendon O'Connor chips ahead and into touch for a lineout on half-way. 

2

Early Pressure

Tigers with the early pressure keep Racing in their 22 and a chip ahead goes straight into touch to give Tigers a lineout between the Racing 22 and 10 metre line. 

Here we Go

Tigers and George Ford kicks things off here in Paris. 

0

Bonjour!

Welcome to Paris and the La Defense Arena as Tigers visit Racing 92 in the Heineken Champions Cup. 


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Brice Dulin
14
Simon Zebo
13
Virimi Vakatawa
12
Olivier Klemenczak
11
Juan Imhoff
10
Finn Russell
9
Teddy Iribaren
1
Eddy Ben Arous
2
Dimitri Szarzewski
3
Cedate Gomes Sa
4
Bernard Le Roux
5
Leone Nakarawa
6
Wenceslas Lauret
7
Baptiste Chouzenoux
8
Antonie Claassen

Subs

16
Ole Avei
17
Guram Gogichashvili
18
Georges-Henri Colombe
19
Dominic Bird
20
Boris Palu
21
Antoine Gibert
22
Louis Dupichot
23
Ben Volavola

Team news | Tigers away to Racing 92 in Europe

Australia international duo Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau return to the Leicester Tigers starting line-up for the Heineken Champions Cup fixture against Racing 92 in Paris on Sunday.

The Wallabies pair both played off the bench in the league game at Bristol last week but start the Pool 4 encounter at the Paris La Defense Arena.

Harry Wells and Mike Fitzgerald are added to the forward pack and Ben White starts at scrum-half.

Geordan Murphy, the Tigers interim head coach, said: “We were obviously very disappointed with the result at Bristol last week and we’ve thoroughly reviewed that, but we also have to look forward and try to put things right that we got wrong there.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost Kyle Eastmond to a ban because he’s been very good for us in the autumn period, but it’s brilliant to be able to bring in Matt Toomua who is a world-class player in that role.

“Ben Youngs is coming out of a tough period of international rugby and we want to manage his body and workload. It’s also a good opportunity for Ben White, on a flat and fast track, to get some well-deserved gametime. We’re excited to see him in this environment and he’s impressed us with his maturity and work ethic.

“It’s a bonus for us to have a player of Ben Youngs’ quality to come into the game from the bench, especially in terms of experience, and he has been excellent all week around the group, like all of our internationals who are settling back in after the autumn Tests.”

Campese Ma’afu and Will Evans are included among the replacements and Guy Thompson returns after missing the last two games with the leg injury suffered at Gloucester.

Leicester Tigers (v Racing 92, away, Sunday 4.15pm local / 3.15pm UK)

15 Jonah Holmes

14 Adam Thompstone

13 Manu Tuilagi

12 Matt Toomua

11 Jonny May

10 George Ford (c)

9 Ben White

1 Ellis Genge

2 Tatafu Polota-Nau

3 Dan Cole

4 Will Spencer

5 Harry Wells

6 Mike Fitzgerald

7 Brendon O’Connor

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Jake Kerr

17 Campese Ma’afu

18 Gaston Cortes

19 Mike Williams

20 Will Evans

21 Guy Thompson

22 Ben Youngs

23 Matt Smith

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Simon Zebo, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Olivier Klemenczak, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Teddy Iribaren; 1 Eddy Ben Arous, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 8 Antonie Claassen
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Boris Palu, 21 Antoine Gibert, 22 Louis Dupichot, 23 Ben Volavola

 

 

Euro Cup preview | New territory for Tigers in Paris

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell is a newcomer in the Racing squad this season after a switch from Glasgow
Scotland fly-half Finn Russell is a newcomer in the Racing squad this season after a switch from Glasgow

Geordan Murphy says Leicester Tigers will test themselves against “the galacticos” of Racing 92 under the fixed roof of the La Defence Arena in Paris on Sunday.

Borrowing the term popularised by Real Madrid’s star-studded football team, Leicester Tigers interim head coach Murphy said: “Racing have a quality squad with galacticos of the game.

“We’ve played them a lot in recent years, we lost two tight games with them last year and they’ve added more strength since then with Simon Zebo and Finn Russell in the backline.

“It’s a really tough pool and Racing have got an away win already, but we have to get out there and we have to produce our best.

“It has been a very hard week since losing at Bristol last Saturday. There was a huge amount we were disappointed with, but we cannot sulk. They are the breaks and we have to get on with the job.”

La Defence Arena is the sixth different Paris venue to host Tigers since a first visit back in 1924. The club’s last win the French capital was in the 2001 Heineken Cup Final.

The arena in the western suburb of Nanterre opened a year ago and has a 32,000 capacity for rugby with a fixed roof over the artificial playing surface.

In team news announced on Friday, Tigers call Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau into the starting line-up with Kyle Eastmond suspended and club captain Tom Youngs on the injured list. Will Evans and the fit-again Guy Thompson have been called up to the matchday squad.

Racing, who face Tigers for a fourth successive year in Europe’s elite club competition, include summer signings Zebo and Russell, France internationals Virimi Vakatawa and Dimitri Szarzewski, and Fijian second-row Leone Nakarawa in their starting team.

Welsh official Nigel Owens is the match referee on Sunday.

Tigers will wear the club’s traditional red, white and green colours in all six pool fixtures in the Champions Cup this season.

Kick-off is at 4.15pm local time / 3.15pm UK time and there is live coverage on BT Sport.

If you are not attending the game or are unable to watch on TV, you can keep up to date with all of the action using the Tigers Matchday Live service on the club website, mobile website and official app. Or follow the club’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Supporters travelling to Paris can send us their matchday photos using the Tiger Hunt section of the official club app and social media pages.

The return fixture is at Welford Road next Sunday. Kick-off is at 1.00pm. Match tickets are available now. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
1
Racing 92
Racing 92RAC33009451431282014
3
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI31028187-61011206
Form Guide
Racing 92
Form
WLWWW
Last Match
Beat Tigers 36-26
Past Meeting
Won 36-26
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Leicester Tigers
Form
LLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Racing 26-36
Past Meeting
Lost 26-36