Leicester suffer Champions Cup blow with defeat to Racing 92
Finn Russell was impressive at Welford Road with 14 points.
Leicester’s hopes of reaching the knockout phase of the Champions Cup are all but over following a 34-11 defeat by Racing 92 at Welford Road.
The Tigers were overwhelmed in a blistering first quarter from Racing with tries by Teddy Iribaren, Juann Imhoff and Virimi Vakatawa sweeping the Pool Four leaders out of reach.
Scotland’s Finn Russell showed class at fly-half to orchestrate Leicester’s eighth successive defeat and finished with a 14-point haul comprised of four conversions and two penalties.
Full-back George Worth crossed on the half-hour mark but it was a weak display from the Tigers, who barely fired a shot apart from the odd burst by Manu Tuilagi.
Having accumulated only six points from four games, progression to the quarter-finals is a highly unlikely prospect while Racing’s imposing performance confirmed their status as a leading contender to win the tournament.
Two defensive errors by Leicester helped Racing into an early lead with Iribaren the first over, waves of strong carries ending when the scrum-half touched down with an outstretched arm.
Next over the line was Imhoff, who benefited from Adam Thompstone’s poor positioning that enabled Simon Zebo to sprint free from a line-out.
And the Tigers were carved open far too easily again in the 21st minute as Racing staged an attack from inside their own 22, the ball passing through several pairs of hands before Vakatawa crossed.
The one-way traffic was brought to a halt when Tuilagi ran an arching line and although Thompstone was halted by a high tackle, Worth was on hand to gather and touch down.
Leicester trailed 24-11 at half-time but their opportunities to cut the deficit dwindled as they lost a second line-out from close range.
Russell landed a penalty as Racing continued to dominate, a 58th-minute counter from inside their own half scattering the Tigers just as the home side were beginning to build some momentum.
79' | Leicester Tigers vs Racing 92 | #LEIR92— Racing 92 (@racing92) December 16, 2018
ESSAI POUR JUAN IMHOFF ! Magnifique passe de Maxime Machenaud qui a servi son ailier sous les poteaux.
📋 Leicester 11 - 32 Racing pic.twitter.com/DhQbnzP5Mu
Dan Cole was sent to the sin-bin for leading with elbow when he carried into skipper Henry Chavancy to place another dent in Leicester’s hopes of staging a comeback.
A dour second-half provided few thrills with Racing already out of sight and Leicester incapable of making any impression on their defence.
Russell showed his electric running skills to slice Leicester open and the bonus point was sealed when Imhoff plundered his second try with a minute left.