Carter’s Racing 92 beat Toulouse in Top14

Dimitri Szarzewski celebrates a try with his team mates

New Zealand star Dan Carter was presented to his adoring new fans before Racing 92 gave their latest recruit something to cheer in beating Toulouse 28-13 in the French Top 14 on Saturday.

That result was enough to prise second place away from the visitors and move Racing to within one point of leaders Clermont, who host Toulon later on Saturday.

“With this unusual end of the week in which every conversation subject turned to Dan Carter’s arrival, we wondered whether the group, who were excited, would be perturbed or by contrast invigorated,” said Racing’s backs coach Laurent Labit.

“That’s why it’s so satisfying to have beaten a direct rival for qualification (for the post-season play-offs).”

A bruising battle on a bitterly cold afternoon at Colombes, just outside Paris, was decided in an entertaining second half that featured plenty of attacking rugby and four tries.

It was only the second match for Racing since deadly terror attacks in Paris on November 13 claimed 130 lives, and injured hundreds more.

Centre Henry Chavancy scored the only try of the first-half, just before the break, following good work from Yannick Nyanga, against his former employers, while Maxime Machenaud added the conversion to send the Parisians into the lockeroom 13-3 ahead.

However, an opportunist try from international wing Vincent Clerc slashed the deficit to 13-8 before Toulouse lock Yoann Maestri was sin-binned on 58 minutes following a dangerous tackle.

It was Clerc’s 94th career Top 14 try and extended his lead at the top of all-time active try scorers in French rugby to two over Clermont’s Aurelien Rougerie.

Racing took immediate advantage of their man advantage and extended their lead to 18-8 after a rolling maul crashed across the line with hooker Dmitri Szarzewski touching down.

The 19-time French champions and four-time European Cup winners refused to buckle and a swift attack down the left following a quickly taken penalty led to Arthur Bonneval driving his way through two Racing defenders for a score on 54 minutes.

However, a late try from Racing’s New Zealander No.8 Chris Masoe put the result beyond doubt as Toulouse failed to pick up a losing bonus point.

All Blacks fly-half Carter was presented to the local fans at half-time as the newly-crowned world champion gets set for his second stint in France.

The 33-year-old world record international points-scorer enjoyed a brief spell at Perpignan for the 2008-09 season but made only five appearances before a ruptured Achilles tendon curtailed his campaign.

“I’m really excited to be here after a couple of weeks of celebrating (World Cup victory) and am now looking forward to pulling on the famous ciel and blanc shirt (sky blue and white),” Carter said at half-time after arriving with his family on Friday at his new residence in the southern Parisian suburbs.

“I will start training on Monday and then it will be up to the coaches when I am ready to play.

“I speak a little French,” Carter, who won 112 caps, added in French much to the delight of the Racing fans.

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