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Northampton hoping for first win over Racing

Wednesday 8th December 2021

1:00 pm (GMT)

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Northampton hoping for first win over Racing

Northampton celebrate after scoring a try in the Heineken Champions Cup

Northampton Saints welcome Racing 92 to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens in Round 1 of the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday night aiming to record a first ever victory over the TOP 14 side. 

Across four meetings, Racing have come out on top on three occasions, with the two sides playing out a 9-9 draw in their most recent clash in 2015. 

The Pool A encounter kicks off at 20:00 (UK & Irish time) and will be available to watch on BT Sport. 

Other key facts: 

  • Racing lost in the quarter-final stage of the Heineken Champions Cup last season (v Union Bordeaux-Bègles), but they have not lost back-to-back games in the competition since December 2017. 
  • Saints have lost just two of their last 12 home games against TOP 14 opposition in the Heineken Champions Cup (W9, D1). One of those defeats came in their most recent such fixture, however (v Union Bordeaux-Bègles).  
  • Racing scored more points (152) and tries (18) than any other side in the Heineken Champions Cup last season, at an impressive average of 38 points and 4.5 tries per game.  
  • Northampton had the best ruck success rate (98%) of any side in the Heineken Champions Cup last season, losing just four of their 180 rucks. 

Key quotes: 

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints flanker): “It’s practically knockout rugby every week and that’s something that we’ll talk about, something that we need to understand – that you don’t get many chances of playing in European competitions and having chances to win European trophies as well.” 

Laurent Travers (Racing 92 director of rugby): “Titles are etched into you for life – so being able to win a European title is exceptional. We’d like to get a star on our shirts and our hands on the trophy, because after three finals and three losses in the final, we are so keen and hungry to lead this campaign.” 

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Lauret hat-trick as Racing prove too strong for Northampton

Friday 10th December 2021

10:31 pm (GMT)

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Lauret hat-trick as Racing prove too strong for Northampton

Racing 92 flanker Wenceslas Lauret goes over for his third try

Flanker Wenceslas Lauret scored a hat-trick of tries as Racing 92 demonstrated their class with a 45-14 win over Northampton Saints in the opening game of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.

Racing ran in five tries in the Pool A opener as winger Juan Imhoff also notched a brace, while scrum-half Maxime Machenaud kicked 20 points.

Northampton struggled to gain a foothold in the game and were behind early on as Machenaud notched his first two penalties of the game inside five minutes.

Lauret then grabbed his first try on seven minutes after good work from fly-half Finn Russell, who was a constant threat for the TOP 14 side.

The Scotland international then created another score on 22 minutes, releasing Imhoff for his first try as Racing began to flex their attacking muscles.

Northampton hit back however as a smart kick from Fraser Dingwall allowed Courtnall Skosan to dot down on 28 minutes – their resurgence was short-lived though, as Imhoff went over again on 36 minutes.

Racing flew out the blocks at the start of the second half as Lauret crossed for his second try of the evening, once again courtesy of some clever Russell play.

Fraser Dingwall bundled over for Saints’ second try on 47 minutes but there would be no miracle recovery from the home side, with Lauret diving over to complete his hat-trick on 63 minutes after Gaël Fickou had burst through.

Northampton had a late try ruled following a TMO review to compound a frustrating opening game in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup – they will look to bounce back in Round 2 next weekend when they travel to Ulster Rugby.

Racing meanwhile will be aiming for back-to-back wins as they host Ospreys at Paris La Defense Arena.

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