Leicester down Carter’s Racing, Zebre biting shame


Leicester gained European Cup revenge for last season’s semi-final loss to Racing 92 by beating Dan Carter’s French stars 27-17 in their heavyweight Pool 1 clash on Sunday.

Both Leicester, the 2001 and 2002 champions, and Racing ran in two tries each with the Tigers bouncing back from their opening, shock loss to Glasgow.

All Blacks superstar Carter was playing for the first time since he and team-mates Joe Rokocoko and Juan Imhoff were cleared in a doping probe.

But they were on the backfoot in the first half after Leicester flanker Brendan O’Connor scored an early try while Owen Williams kicked the remaining points for an 11-3 lead at the interval.

Carter scored his first European Cup try just eight minutes into the second half, cleverly dummying through two defenders before potting the conversion for 11-10.

Freddie Burns replaced Williams and was responsible for the Tigers’ remaining 16 points including a long-distance breakaway try after intercepting a pass by Maxime Machenaud.

Carter was close to a second try but was held up on the line by Matthew Tait before Imhoff went over in the closing stages.

Carter converted for 27-17 but Racing were unable to grab a consolation losing bonus point and they stay bottom of the table.

“I am delighted with the performance and the result, and to deny them anything out of the game is important. We defended well, and our set-piece was probably the difference,” said Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

In Pool 2 Wasps scored a last-minute try to grab a 20-20 draw at Toulouse while Connacht crushed Zebre 52-7 in a game which saw Italian hooker Oliviero Fabiani red-carded for biting.

Two-time winners Wasps were trailing 20-13 in the dying moments in France before No8 Nathan Hughes scored his team’s second try.

Jimmy Gopperth then hit a nerveless conversion from out wide to keep the English side’s quarter-final hopes alive.

– Fabiani biting shame –

Tensions had boiled over on the stroke of half-time after the French side failed to convert a sustained period of pressure into a try.

Lock forward Yoann Maestri barged into Wasps fitness coach Dan Baugh as the two sides squared up on the sidelines.

Wasps then ramped up the pressure further by making Toulouse wait to start the second period, although they were soon left to regret it.

Star fly-half Danny Cipriani tried to play his way out from his five-metre line but only succeeded in fumbling the ball into the grateful hands of replacement prop Census Johnston, who barrelled over for a Toulouse try.

Sebastian Bezy converted for a 13-6 lead.

Wasps hit back when Christian Wade’s break allowed fellow winger Josh Barrett to score with Gopperth hitting the extras for 13-13.

Toulouse reclaimed the lead through star French centre Gael Fickou, who went over with Bezy again successful with the conversion.

But just as Toulouse were pondering their first win of the campaign, they were stunned by Hughes’s last-minute sucker punch.

“It’s very frustrating again. We have used the same words for three weeks,” said Toulouse coach Ugo Mola.

In Italy, Zebre’s traumatic European campaign hit a new low when Fabiani was red-carded in the first half for sinking his teeth into the forearm of lock forward Quinn Roux at the foot of a ruck.

Having been crushed 82-14 at Wasps last week, they conceded eight tries to leaders Connacht, for whom winger Stacey Ili scored a hat-trick.

In Pool 4, three-time champions Leinster went down 22-16 at Montpellier, for whom Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo scored two of his team’s three tries. Centre Vincent Martin added Montpellier’s third try.

Skipper Isa Nacewa scored all of Leinster’s points with a try and 11 points from the boot.

His conversion of his own 79th-minute try allowed the 2009, 2011 and 2012 European champions to go home with a bonus point.

© 2016 AFP

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