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Preview: Quins must win at Racing

Friday 6th December 2013

12:00 am (GMT)

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ASM Clermont Auvergne host Harlequins at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Friday night with both sides knowing defeat with leave them with a mountain to climb to make the last eight. - 19/10/2013 22:05

ASM Clermont Auvergne host Harlequins at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Friday night with both sides knowing defeat with leave them with a mountain to climb to make the last eight. - 19/10/2013 22:05

Chris Robshaw claimed Harlequins’ Heineken Cup losing-bonus point defeat at Clermont Auvergne in October could turn their season around and the statistics have proven the England skipper was spot on in his assessment.

Since then, Quins have notched up four successive wins in the Aviva Premiership including a notable away victory at Leicester Tigers and have moved into fourth position in the domestic table.

That level of performance will be required again at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes if Conor O’Shea’s men are to defy the history books and become the first team to lose their opening two pool games and still qualify for the knock-out stages. Quins are currently bottom of the pile, but, in a highly-competitive group, lie just four points behind pool leaders and unbeaten duo the Scarlets and next opponents Racing Metro.

The English side, who won all six of their group games last season to reach the quarter-finals, are likely to face British & Irish Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips, who could make his Racing debut after joining the French outfit on a two-and-a-half year deal earlier this week. Following the 31-year-old’s departure from Bayonne, Phillips started three of Wales’ four internationals during November and will face a battle for the number nine shirt against Maxime Machenaud.

Phillips joins Welshmen Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate at the Paris-based club and could be reunited with Lions half-back partner Jonny Sexton.

Racing are also in decent form following their 17-12 win over Montpellier last weekend, their second home Top 14 victory in a row.

This is the first meeting between the sides in the Heineken Cup.

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Report: Quins end losing run in thriling style

Saturday 7th December 2013

12:00 am (GMT)

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Face à leur ancien voisin des Wasps

Face à leur ancien voisin des Wasps

Nick Evans scored 17 points as Harlequins produced one of their finest performances in Europe and give themselves a lifeline in the Heineken Cup.

The fly-half scored the first of his team’s four tries as Quins stunned Racing-Metro in Nantes to claim their first win of the campaign.
Nick Easter, Charlie Walker and Karl Dickson then all followed to secure a bonus-point victory at Stade de la Beaujoire that lifts them to second in Pool 4.
Danny Care went close in the opening minutes amid a lively start by Harlequins.
But it was fellow half-back Evans who finally broke the deadlock on 18 minutes with the game’s opening points.
Quins forwards edged forward with a series of drives before Evans spotted a gap. The fly-half ran between Francois van der Merwe and Wenceslas Lauret before rounding full-back Juan Martin Hernandez to touch down. Evans converted his own try and then added a penalty five minutes later for an early 10-0 lead.
Matt Hopper was then denied Harlequins’ second try when the video official ruled he put his foot in touch before grounding the ball under pressure from Marc Andreu.
Just two minutes later and Easter made sure with Quins’ second try.
Mike Brown launched an attack from half-way though the move looked to have come to a halt when he slipped on the greasy turf.
However Care released Easter and the No8 barged off fly-half Benjamin Dambielle and was unstoppable from five metres out. Evans’ conversion handed Harlequins a 17-0 lead after half an hour.
Racing finally awoke from their slumber and briefly threatened though struggled to break down a resilient Quins defence. Even when Evans saw a kick charged down, Walker scrambled back to clear the danger.
Racing settled for a penalty on the stroke of half-time but then rung the changes including the arrival at halftime of Jonny Sexton.
But it was Evans who claimed the first points of the second half as Quins continued where they left off in the first half.
Hernandez fumbled Care’s speculative kick and Walker was on-hand to take advantage. The wing gathered possession, handed off Maxime Machenaud before out-pacing the covering defenders into the corner.
Sexton came close to finding a way back for Racing but his cross-field kick, following a series of drives by his forwards, eluded the fingertips of Juan Imhoff out wide.
The out-of-sorts Parisiens found a way back when Karim Ghezal’s lineout take set up a drive from which Bernard Le Roux was driven over, though Sexton pushed his conversion across the posts.
Mike Phillips replaced Maxime Machenaud to make his debut for Racing but not even the British Lion’s arrival could turn his team’s fortunes.
Harlequins ensured they had the final say and wrapped up a vital bonus point on the road when replacement scrum-half Dickson completed a powerful drive by his forwards for the final score ten minutes from time.

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