Champions Cup: Harlequins claim wet-weather victory to leave Racing 92 on the brink
Harlequins bounced back from last week’s loss as they edged Racing 92 in torrid conditions, winning 14-10 at the Stoop on Sunday.
A fine try in the third minute from George Head set the hosts on their way before Andre Esterhuizen went over in the 50th minute for their other score.
Fly-half Tommaso Allan converted both of the crossings but the weather hampered the game as a spectacle, with those the only points from Harlequins.
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Racing scored once, through Kitione Kamikamica on 40 minutes, but he was red carded 10 minutes after the break for a dangerous tackle on Nick David.
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Having lost narrowly to the Sharks in their Champions Cup opener last weekend, the win keeps alive Quins’ hopes of reaching the knockout phase.
It started well when a big hole in Racing’s blindside defence was easily exploited, Danny Care sending Head through and the hooker had the gas to reach the whitewash.
Finn Russell rounded off a spell of Racing control with a penalty but Quins pressed again through a series of scrums close to the visiting line that ultimately amounted to nothing.
Looking to pull the trigger through a midfield move they instead saw the ball picked off amid after a wayward pass, although a missed Russell penalty ensured they were not immediately punished.
Now it was Quins’ turn to come under sustained pressure as the rain continued to lash down and with seconds of the first-half remaining Racing were over through Kamikamica.
It was route one play, using their forwards to carry off a line-out, but also effective in wretched conditions that put a limit on any loftier ambitions.
And there was nothing pretty about the try that propelled Quins back in front early in the second half as Esterhuizen took the ball off Care at a scrum and used his bulk to power over despite the attention of three white shirts.
🃏 Gritty win for Quins in the rain. #HeinekenChampionsCup #HARvR92 pic.twitter.com/AY4iyvhVnu
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) December 18, 2022
Compounding matters for Racing was the 51st minute departure of Kamikamica for a dangerous tackle on full-back David, who was lifted up and tipped on his head.
There was little pace in the game and Quins were content to camp themselves in enemy territory, but their inability to add another score looked dangerous when they were forced to repel a sustained attack on their line.
The storm was weathered, however, and they finished the game probing for a third try.