Dan Carter stars as Racing 92 demolish Northampton Saints
By Louise Warr
Last Updated: 13/12/15 5:56pm
A man-of-the-match performance from Dan Carter on his debut steered Racing 92 to a convincing 33-3 Champions Cup victory over Northampton.
The New Zealand great pulled the strings in a game that Racing dominated from the outset, with first-half tries from Henry Chavancy, Eddie Ben-Arous and Brice Dulin gifting the Parisians a 21-3 lead at the break.
Further scores from Dulin, his second, and Juan Imhoff sealed the victory in a game where Northampton were far from their best.
The World Cup winner had a dream start to his Racing career and played 64 minutes on his debut before being substituted to a standing ovation at the Stade Yves-Du-Manoir.
Racing started the brighter of the two sides and a forward pass denied Chris Masoe of a try early doors.
The home side continued their dominance when Chavancy capitalised on a penalty advantage.
Wenceslas Lauret burst free from a driving maul but was hauled down by some desperate Northampton defence just short to set up the move before Joe Rococko threw a cut-out pass to Chavancy who crashed over at the corner. Carter - who ended his international career after winning the World Cup - notched up his first points for Racing 92 from the touchline.
Ben-Arous soon added to the Racing 92's total when the prop picked the ball up and darted over Ben Foden after a spell of heavy pressure, giving the Parisians a 14-0 lead.
Saints got themselves on the board after 30 minutes when JJ Hanrahan kicked a much-needed penalty after Dimitri Szarzewski was caught offside in midfield.
The first forty went from bad to worse for Saints when Dulin pounced on a floated pass from Victor Matfield inside the Racing 22 and the full-back raced away to score under the posts.
A powerful burst from Luther Burrell looked to have hauled Northampton back into the match 10 seconds from the break but the England centre was denied after the television match official deemed the ball hadn't been grounded and Racing protected their 21-3 lead.
The second-half started in the same vein as the first and Racing secured the bonus-point on 44 minutes when Dulin went over for his second. Prop Ben Tameifuna set up the score when he bulldozed his way through three Northampton defenders before producing a superb offload out the back of his hand away to Dulin, who ducked under the covering defence to score.
Jim Mallinder's men refused to give up and strung together phase after phase of sustained periods of pressure inside the Racing 22, but their never-say-die attitude wasn't rewarded.
Argentina star Imhoff topped off a successful evening for Racing 92 when the full-back finished off a champagne team try. The move started inside their own 22 when a turnover allowed Juan Goosen and Luke Charteris to break away upfield, the ball was spun across to the other side of the pitch before Rokocoko combined perfectly with Imhoff who dived over.