La Rochelle make stunning debut with victory at Harlequins

Champions Cup round-up: Exeter end Glasgow’s unbeaten run; Racing 92 edge Leicester; Bath shutout Treviso

Geoffrey Doumayrou of La Rochelle runs in to score a try during the  Champions Cup match against  Harlequins  at Twickenham Stoop. Photograph:  Henry Browne/Getty Images

Geoffrey Doumayrou of La Rochelle runs in to score a try during the Champions Cup match against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop. Photograph: Henry Browne/Getty Images

 

Harlequins 27 La Rochelle 34

England’s prodigal son Ryan Lamb outfoxed rising star Marcus Smith as La Rochelle edged past Harlequins 34-27 at The Stoop.

Former Gloucester flyhalf Lamb booted 14 points and just about bested Quins teenager Smith as La Rochelle registered a bonus-point win on their Champions Cup debut as they went ahead of Ulster to top Pool One .

Lamb did everything but win a senior cap amid frustrating flirtations with England during a five-year Gloucester career that ran from 2004 to 2009.

Quins sensation Smith, meanwhile, has already been earmarked for Test stardom by England boss Eddie Jones, though the 18-year-old will not be rushed into frontline international action.

But in west London it was the itinerant playmaker Lamb, not the new-school outhalf Smith, who won the day.

Geoffrey Doumayrou’s brace and further scores from Hikairo Forbes and Dany Priso sealed La Rochelle’s victory, with Quins replying through tries from Charlie Matthews, Joe Marchant and Will Collier, along with 12 points from Smith.

Exeter 24 Glasgow 15

Exeter ended Glasgow’s unbeaten start to the season after they fought back to win a gripping opener 24-15 at Sandy Park.

The Aviva Premiership champions had lost three of their previous four opening games in Europe, and they made a terrible start as Glasgow surged 10 points clear through a Tommy Seymour try, plus a Finn Russell conversion and penalty.

But the Chiefs, unbeaten at home in all competitions since last December, wiped out the deficit when prop Harry Williams and lock Jonny Hill claimed tries during a dominant nine-minute spell, with flyhalf Gareth Steenson converting both scores.

And Glasgow, who lost Scotland international hooker Fraser Brown to injury early in the action, were ultimately defeated despite wing Lee Jones’s 44th-minute touchdown.

A Steenson penalty and number eight Sam Simmonds’s late converted touchdown saw Exeter home.

It was Glasgow’s first defeat following six successive Guinness Pro 14 wins, yet they could still feature heavily in the Pool Three mix. They host Leinster next weekend at Scotstoun.

Racing 92 22 Leicester 18

Leicester Tigers started their European Champions Cup campaign with a 22-18 defeat to French giants Racing 92.

The result in Paris meant the Tigers secured a losing bonus point as first-half tries from Luke Hamilton and Jonny May meant they took something back to England.

Flyhalf George Ford ended the game with eight points and his late penalty ensured Racing had to play until the final whistle. Leone Nakarawa, Bernard Le Roux and Teddy Thomas were the home side’s scorers as Teddy Iribaren kicked two conversions and Maxime Machenaud added a penalty.

Bath 23 Benetton Treviso 0

Bath made a winning return to the European top flight after a season’s absence with a 23-0 victory over Italian side Benetton Treviso in Pool 5.

The scoreline did not do justice to the Italians who monopolised possession for long periods but lacked a cutting edge behind their powerful forwards.

Flanker Zak Mercer scored a timely try that gave Bath a 13-0 lead at the break and Aled Brew added a second late on but they never looked like getting a bonus point. Having prop Nick Auterac and hooker Tom Dunn sin-binned did not help their cause.

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