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Leicester beat Carter’s Racing for first European win of season

Telusa Veainu

Telusa Veainu (left) went off on a stretcher in the latter stages

Replacement fly-half Freddie Burns scored 16 points as Leicester overcame last year’s beaten Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 at Welford Road.

Brendon O’Connor scored an early try for Tigers but Dan Carter replied with a fine solo effort in the second half.

Burns replaced Owen Williams after 53 minutes and kicked two penalties before scoring an interception try.

A Juan Imhoff try looked to have given Racing a losing bonus point but a Burns penalty denied them even that.

Leicester were thrashed 42-13 by Glasgow Warriors in their opening Pool 1 match last weekend while Racing’s game against Munster was postponed after the sudden death of the Irish side’s coach Anthony Foley.

Munster’s victory over Glasgow on Saturday means those sides both have five points, Leicester have four and French champions Racing are yet to get off the mark.

All Black greats Carter and Joe Rokocoko both started for the visitors having been cleared of doping allegations, along with Argentine wing Imhoff.

Flanker O’Connor scored an early try for Tigers before Carter reduced the gap with a penalty.

The hosts lost two players in quick succession, lock Dom Barrow after a clash of heads and centre Matt Toomua with what appeared to be a leg injury.

But Leicester weathered the storm and Williams extended his side’s lead with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Carter scored a superb solo effort eight minutes into the second half, selling two dummies and drifting through some weak defending before dotting the ball down, and his conversion brought the visitors within a point at 11-10.

A Burns penalty restored Leicester’s cushion before the replacement fly-half intercepted a Maxime Machenaud pass and ran the length of the field to score.

Carter very nearly narrowed the gap after some excellent handling skills from Imhoff but came up short with his stretch for the line.

The Tigers’ Telusa Veainu was carried off after a nasty a clash of heads but was fit enough to return to the bench before the final whistle sounded.

Imhoff went over in the corner with five minutes remaining before Burns popped over another three-pointer.

What they said

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill: “Racing are a quality side and are going to score tries against you, so there’s no point getting upset.

“But by and large we were on top physically and the supporters were good when we got on top of them.

“Racing not getting a losing bonus point could be huge. It’s going to be a really tight pool and we’ve got to go to some tough places. It will be a fight to the end.”

Leicester: Veainu; Thompstone, Tait, Toomua, Pietersen; O Williams, B Youngs; Ayerza, T Youngs, Cole, Slater, Barrow, Fitzgerald, O’Connor, McCaffrey.

Replacements: Harrison for Veainu (71), Betham for Toomua (23), Burns for O Williams (54), Mulipola for Ayerza (59), McGuigan for T Youngs (76), Kitchener for Barrow (18).

Not Used: Bateman, Evans.

Racing 92: Dulin; Rokocoko, Goosen, Chavancy, Imhoff; Carter, Machenaud, Ben Arous, Chat, Tameifuna, Nakarawa, Carizza, Lauret, Nyanga, Masoe.

Replacements: Afatia for Ben Arous (55), Lacombe for Chat (55), Ducalcon for Tameifuna (54), Van Der Merwe for Carizza (63), Dubarry for Masoe (78).

Not Used: Hart, Vulivuli, Tuitavake.

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