Scarlets pull off shock Racing Metro win in Paris

A spectacular solo try from Kristian Phillips helped the Scarlets to a 13-19 Heineken Cup victory over French Club Racing Metro on Friday evening.

The result is a big boost for Welsh side the Scarlets as it is their first win since November when they beat Connacht in the Pro 12.

ASM Clermont Auvergne remain in the driving seat to qualify from Pool 4, with
Harlequins hot on their heels ahead of Saturday afternoon’s mouth-watering match
up at the Twickenham Stoop, but Scarlets are mathematically still in with a
shout of a place in the last eight.

Young wing Kristian Phillips was their match winner, with his stunning solo
score just past the hour handing them a six-point lead that they never relinquished.

Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland picked up the Heineken Man of the Match award
with an assured display that ended with a 14-point haul courtesy of four penalties
from five attempts and the conversion of Phillips’ try.

British & Irish Lions stars Jonny Sexton and Mike Phillips stood out for
Racing, with the scrum-half grabbing his side’s early try, but the Scarlets
deservedly stopped a run of six straight defeats.

The Scarlets were ahead as early as four minutes as Priestland made up for
an even earlier miss by hitting the target from straight in front of the posts.

But Racing showed their obvious potential when Phillips initiated a charge
down the left that only ended when Argentine playmaker Juan Martin Hernandez
stepped into touch five metres short and they were in front with just nine minutes

Racing may have only scored 14 tries in 16 domestic games but their intentions
were clear when Sexton opted to ignore a simple shot at goal in favour of an
attacking lineout.

And that enterprise brought an immediate reward when Sexton’s inside ball to
Juan Imhoff put Racing on the front foot and Phillips snuck over from close
range just after Sexton himself had been hauled down just short.

Sexton added the extras from midway between the left touchline and the posts
and Racing were 7-3 up ahead and looking to kick on.

They seemed set to stretch that lead almost immediately as they had the Scarlets
in all sorts of trouble but the visitors somehow escaped unscathed following
a dogged defensive effort.

Virgil Lacombe was denied a try by the efforts of openside John Barclay and
two more Scarlets colleagues as they held the hooker up over the line but Racing
should still have been celebrating moments later.

Having seemingly been on the brink of a penalty try following a brace of quick-fire
penalties at the resulting five-metre scrum, Racing were undone as Phil John
got underneath former Northampton prop Brian Mujati to win turnover ball and
avert the danger.

The rest of the half was much more even, with Priestland cutting the gap to
7-6 with another penalty two minutes before the break and Sexton restoring the
four-point gap with the final kick of the half.

Phillips and Sexton combined again to put Benjamin Fall in space down the left
seconds after the restart but it was the Scarlets who should have been celebrating
the next score through wing Frazier Climo. Priestland’s clever chip ahead left
the Racing defence in disarray but Climo couldn’t gather with a clear run to
the lien ahead of him.

Priestland did cut the gap with a third penalty before Racing blew a similarly
gilt-edged chance after 50 minutes when Sexton’s scoring pass to Fall was picked
off by Aled Thomas. The Scarlets almost turned the mistake into a try of their
own as they raced fully 70 metres but the bounce of the ball again went against
them as Priestland chipped crossfield to Barclay.

Priestland then put the Scarlets in front with a fourth strike after 55 minutes
before Juan Martin Hernand

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