For Racing 92, there was a big misstep to forget and to be forgiven: the defeat on the lawn of Aviron Bayonnais, promoted for this Top 14 exercise. Especially since this Saturday, a big team was expected at Paris La Défense Arena: LOU Rugby. No room for error against this big piece, as for the first home game against Castres. For this meeting, Lyon arrived armed, with the presence of Dylan Cretin, Romain Taofifenua and Baptiste Couilloud but also that of Léo Berdeu who was repositioned at the back.
Racing 92 made a name for itself very quickly with its young arrows, Nolann Le Garrec and Max Spring, who dazzle with their speed and put their team in the lead. This allows Louis Dupichot to register, in the 8th minute, the first try of the meeting.
Les Ciel et Blanc led 5-0 from the first ten minutes of play, but Lyon reacted very quickly. Last season’s best try scorer, Baptiste Couilloud, accelerated to score Lyon’s first try. Unlike Nolann Le Garrec on the Racing side, the transformation of Léo Berdeu passes, and Lyon leads 7 to 5.
This is a high-flying start to a meeting, with spectacle! Even more so with the second try of the match, scored in the 19th minute by the back Max Spring, when he issued a nice acceleration (another one) from him. Le Garrec still misses the transformation, but Racing regains the advantage (10-7).
This first half of quality will see two more tries scored, one on each side: Inia Tabuavou for Racing in the 25th minute, and the French international Dylan Cretin at the half-hour mark. The intensity and suspense are there, on this meeting between two contenders for the Top 6. A meeting revealed from the edge of the field by Virimi Vakatawa, unfortunate retired, who was treated to a beautiful tribute at the start and end of the match.
At half-time, Racing leads 23 to 14 against Lyon. The Ile-de-France lost their scrum half, Nolann Le Garrec, to injury, who had his knee strapped and iced. It’s up to Teddy Iribaren to lead the troops with Finn Russell, who doesn’t wait long to score new points after a foul from Lyon: Racing 92 leads 26-14 from the 42nd minute.
This second period will be less tough than the first. There is still a try from Mignot for the LOU in the 59th minute, and two penalties passed by Finn Russell, very fit on foot this Saturday afternoon. The match will end with a victory for Racing 32 to 19, the Lyon team being able to regret its indiscipline and the lack of concretization on its end of dominant match.
For Racing 92, it’s a new victory in its garden. A victory that will have to be confirmed next Saturday, during a perilous trip to Ernest Wallon, against Stade Toulousain.
Photo credit : Helen Brewer