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Preview: Quins want Racing repeat

Saturday 14th December 2013

12:00 am (GMT)

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Conor O'Shea will want more of the same from his Harlequins side when they face the return clash with Racing Metro on Sunday. - 14/12/2013 08:52

Conor O'Shea will want more of the same from his Harlequins side when they face the return clash with Racing Metro on Sunday. - 14/12/2013 08:52

Conor O’Shea will want more of the same from his Harlequins side when they face the return clash with Racing Metro on Sunday.

The 2011 Amlin Challenge Cup kings stunned Racing with a superb 32-8 away victory in Nantes last Saturday to reignite their hopes of a second successive Heineken Cup quarter-final.

That first European win of the season put Quins second in Pool 4, just three points behind leaders Clermont Auvergne.

But Quins boss O’Shea will want a repeat of the pace and intensity from that excellent performance – which yielded a crucial bonus-point in France – for the reverse fixture at the Stoop.

Racing, who are just one point behind their English opponents on six, lie joint bottom of the highly competitive group having been joint top prior to Round 3.

And the Top 14 outfit have been handed a major boost with the return of Jamie Roberts to their line-up. The British & Irish Lions and Wales centre has been out for three months after tearing ankle ligaments in just his third game for the French club since his summer move from Cardiff Blues.

In the 27-year-old’s absence, Paris-based Racing have struggled and currently lie eighth in the Top 14 despite a number of high-profile signings, including fellow Lions Dan Lydiate and Jonathan Sexton.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips will also want to notch his first win for the visitors in London after making his debut against Quins following his departure from Bayonne. And Welsh team-mates Roberts and Phillips will hope to inspire a better display and fight than the contest at the Stade de La Beaujoire.

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Report: Double keeps Harlequins in the mix

Sunday 15th December 2013

12:00 am (GMT)

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Sans surprise après la fessée reçue lors du match aller à Nantes

Sans surprise après la fessée reçue lors du match aller à Nantes

Harlequins made it back-to-back victories over Racing Metro 92 to keep their knock-out stage qualification hopes alive – but rain put a damper on their Twickenham Stoop showdown.

Harlequins, who scored four tries in their 32-8 victory over the Paris club at Stade de la Beaujoire in Round 3, had to be content with just a Charlie Walker “special” from the Heineken Man-of-the-Match this time but the win took them to 11 points and four adrift of Pool 4 leaders ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Harlequins can look forward to hosting the group leaders and then travelling to Parc y Scarlets but Racing remain on six points with matches against the Scarlets and Clermont to come in the New Year.

No club has ever qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup after losing their first two games but Nick Evans did enough before failing to go the distance to ensure Harlequins can still harbour faint hopes of making the last eight.

Racing’s Ireland star Jonny Sexton was off target with a second minute penalty goal opportunity created by his own towering up-and-under while opposing outside half Evans, who contributed 17 points in the Round 3 contest, was quickly at it again with two early penalties.

Racing also suffered with a yellow card for Davit Khinchagishvili for punching opposite number Joe Marler and the early need for British & Irish Lions and Wales flanker Dan Lydiate to have 10 minutes receiving treatment before returning to the fray.

They were let off when Evans failed with a third penalty chance but, despite the rain, the All Blacks ace was back on song with his third success as referee Alain Rolland repeatedly penalised Racing. That success took Evans to 50 tournament points this campaign.

And it was not just about the boot with Evans. He almost wriggled through for a try and was really buzzing. With 22 minutes gone he had made five carries and gained 35 metres on the four occasions that he crossed the gainline.

But it was far from a one-man show with back rower Luke Wallace also highly influential and ‘Quins collectively dominating virtually every area and aspect of play to keep Racing firmly on the back foot.

And the try that had been threatening came for ‘Quins just before the break from Charlie Walker. Racing had been better than last week but they were let down by some debatable tackling as Walker jinked twice and turned on the gas to race in for his second try in a week.

Harlequins were 14 points clear at half time and the dream of becoming the first club to qualify for the last eight after losing their first two games is very much alive.

Evans, who had taken a heavy knock midway through the first half, made way for Ben Botica at the break, Botica picking up where Evans had left off with a 51st minute penalty to take Harlequins 17 points clear.

Discipline was a huge problem for Racing, who after 50 minutes had conceded nine penalties to two, while the scrum was also a problem and it took them 59 minutes to open their account with a Sexton penalty goal.

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