By PA Sport
Last Updated: 13/10/18 9:39pm
Racing 92 opened their Heineken Champions Cup Pool Four campaign with a
dramatic and controversial 14-13 victory away to Scarlets on Saturday.
The French side were trailing 13-7 in the final minutes when referee Matthew Carley awarded Racing a penalty try and also sent scrum-half Gareth Davies to the sin bin, and from there, the visitors held on to win.
Racing’s two tries came at the end of the first and second halves with a losing bonus point being little consolation for Scarlets, last year’s semi-finalists who led for most of the match.
Scarlets touched down through Davies and winger Jonny McNicholl in each half, while Leigh Halfpenny added a solitary penalty.
Racing’s first try was scored by flanker Baptiste Chouzenoux and converted by Scotland’s Finn Russell. The score was the final action of the opening 40 minutes and left the visitors leading 7-3.
Up until Chouzenoux’s run-in try following a show-and-go from scrum-half Xavier Chauveau, Scarlets had been more of a match for Racing in what was a cagey affair dominated by mistakes in difficult conditions.
Many of the early mistakes came from Angus O’Brien who started nervously on his European debut. His kick-off went out on the full, he knocked on twice and got charged down twice before finding his kicking game.
Despite his shaky start, Scarlets, who seemed to have the better of the scrums, dominated early on and earned a penalty, which Halfpenny slotted on 10 minutes.
When Racing did get the ball in an attacking position, a mixture of handling errors and a well-organised home defence nullified their efforts.
But with the half ticking by and with O’Brien down injured, Racing sensed a chance of a score and Chouzenoux’s converted try was a sucker punch for Scarlets just before the break.
Scarlets were forced to bring Dan Jones on for the injured O’Brien after half-time, but he had an assured 40 minutes.
It was scrum-half Davies that got Scarlets back in the lead at 8-7 on 52 minutes, attacking the blindside of a five-metre scrum to squeeze over, but Halfpenny failed with the conversion from the left touchline.
However, that became 13-7 six minutes later as Scarlets started to get their passing game going. But in the end, it was Davies’ kick ahead which McNicholl collected to slide in.
In a major twist to the contest as Racing pressed the Scarlets line with three minutes remaining, referee Charley awarded the French side a penalty try – deciding that Davies had prevented an act of scoring.
Russell missed a penalty shot at the end but it mattered little to the French outfit.