Heineken Cup: Harlequins 17-3 Racing Metro 92

Harlequins (14) 17

  • Try: Walker
  • Pen: Evans 3, Botica

Racing Metro 92 (0) 3

  • Pen: Sexton

Harlequins ensured they are right in the mix in Pool Four of the Heineken Cup as they backed up last week's win away to Racing Metro with a solid home victory over the Parisians.

Three Nick Evans penalties and a fine try from Charlie Walker gave the hosts a 14-0 lead at half-time.

Replacement fly-half Ben Botica landed a penalty to extend the lead.

And although Jonny Sexton finally kicked the visitors onto the board, Quins were never troubled.

The result means Quins are four points behind pool leaders Clermont Auvergne, who visit the Twickenham Stoop in the next round of games in January.

Heineken Cup Pool Four

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Racing have an expensively-assembled squad containing several big names, with the Lions quartet of Jamie Roberts, Jonny Sexton, Dan Lydiate and Mike Phillips signed since last season, but they have yet to really gel.

Quins were on top from the start, dominating the breakdown and the scrum, and with fly-half Evans guiding them superbly for the 40 minutes he was on, they never looked like losing.

As a result of the wet conditions the hosts, renowned for their fluent passing game, kicked for position more than usual, but that gave them the field position to shut the visitors out of the game.

The French side could have taken the lead but Ireland 10 Sexton missed an early penalty and the rest of the half was all about Quins, with Luke Wallace and hooker Dave Ward winning turnovers to halt Racing on the rare occasions they threatened with ball in hand.

Evans landed three penalties to chisel out a healthy lead and twice went close to scoring a try, but with the final play of the half Quins finally stretched well clear.

When the hosts moved the ball wide there looked to be little on but Walker, who does not turn 21 for another week, stepped off his right to beat Virimi Vakatawa on the inside shoulder, handed-off Wales blind-side Dan Lydiate and showed good pace to race over.

Evans, who had taken a knock earlier in the half, missed the conversion and that was to prove his last involvement as he was taken off at half-time, with Botica coming on to replace his fellow New Zealander.

He edged the hosts further ahead with a penalty 10 minutes after the restart but Racing improved after the break and finally managed to get on the board through a Sexton penalty just before the hour mark.

Racing enjoyed the better of the territory in the closing stages but Quins were rarely troubled and could have added to their lead, only for Matt Hopper to be tap tackled after he had combined with Botica down the right.

Quins now welcome last year's beaten finalists Clermont knowing they can still reach the last eight, but for Racing it is back to the drawing board as they try to work out how to get the best out of their embarrassment of riches.

Post-match reaction

Quins boss Conor O'Shea:

"We were the better team, with emphasis on team, and that's what made the big difference. Racing had four Lions who started the third Test against Australia out there - money can help, but it takes time.

"If you're spending in the region of £20m on a squad when we're spending £5m it's a huge disparity, but that's part of the challenge.

"Sometimes you overpay players, some people are maybe getting too much money and become comfortable.

"It's a difficult kettle of fish when you're playing Clermont who have been together for such a long time."

Team line-ups

Harlequins: Brown; Walker, Hopper, Molenaar, Smith; Evans, Care; Marler, Ward, Collier, Matthews, Robson, Wallace, Robshaw, Easter.

Replacements: Botica for Evans (41), K Dickson for Care (78), Lambert for Marler (73), Doran-Jones for Collier (29), Kennedy for Matthews (55), Trayfoot for Robson (78).

Not Used: Sinckler, Lindsay-Hague.

Racing Metro 92: Hernandez; Plante, Chavancy, Roberts, Vakatawa; Sexton, Phillips; Khinchagishili, Lacombe, Tonga'uiha, Metz, Ghezal, Lydiate, Battut, Gerondeau.

Replacements: Fall for Vakatawa (75), Wisniewski for Sexton (64), Machenaud for Phillips (63), Ben Arous for Khinchagishili (53), Kruger for Ghezal (63), Ducalcon for Lydiate (16).

Not Used: Maurouard, Le Roux.

Sin Bin: Khinchagishili (15).

Att: 11,300

Ref: Alain Rolland (Ireland).