Racing 92 claim bonus-point win to bury Leicester hopes

French side continue brilliant Champions Cup run at Welford Road

Racing 92 wing Juan Imhoff crosses for their second try during the Heineken Champions Cup match against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Racing 92 wing Juan Imhoff crosses for their second try during the Heineken Champions Cup match against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

Leicester 11 Racing 92 34

Leicester’s hopes of reaching the knock-out phase of the Heineken Champions Cup are all but over following a 34-11 defeat by Racing 92 at Welford Road.

The Tigers were overwhelmed in a blistering first quarter from Racing with tries by Teddy Iribaren, Juan Imhoff and Virimi Vakatawa sweeping the Pool Four leaders out of reach.

Racing move to 19 points out of a possible 20 and are five clear of Ulster, whom they meet in Belfast when the tournament resumes in January.

Scotland’s Finn Russell showed class at outhalf to orchestrate Leicester’s eighth successive defeat and finished with a 14-point haul comprised of four conversions and two penalties.

Fullback George Worth crossed on the half-hour mark but it was a weak display from the Tigers, who barely fired a shot apart from the odd burst by Manu Tuilagi.

Having accumulated only six points from four games, progression to the quarter-finals is a highly unlikely prospect while Racing’s imposing performance confirmed their status as a leading contender to win the tournament.

Two defensive errors by Leicester helped Racing into an early lead with Iribaren the first over, waves of strong carries ending when the scrumhalf touched down with an outstretched arm.

Next over the line was Imhoff, who benefited from Adam Thompstone’s poor positioning that enabled Simon Zebo to sprint free from a lineout.

And the Tigers were carved open far too easily again in the 21st minute as Racing staged an attack from inside their own 22, the ball passing through several pairs of hands before Vakatawa crossed.

The one-way traffic was brought to a halt when Tuilagi ran an arching line and although Thompstone was halted by a high tackle, Worth was on hand to gather and touch down.

Leicester trailed 24-11 at half-time but their opportunities to cut the deficit dwindled as they lost a second lineout from close range.

Russell landed a penalty as Racing continued to dominate, a 58th-minute counter from inside their own half scattering the Tigers just as the home side were beginning to build some momentum.

Dan Cole was sent to the sin-bin for leading with elbow when he carried into skipper Henry Chavancy to place another dent in Leicester’s hopes of staging a comeback.

A dour second-half provided few thrills with Racing already out of sight and Leicester incapable of making any impression on their defence.

Russell showed his electric running skills to slice Leicester open and the bonus point was sealed when Imhoff plundered his second try with a minute left.

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