Terrific Thomas claims Racing bragging rights over struggling Stade Francais
Lyon (AFP) –
Teddy Thomas scored a hat-trick as Racing 92 claimed the Parisian derby spoils with a 25-9 win at Stade Francais on Sunday, leaving the hosts rock bottom of the French Top 14 table.
The visitors move out of the relegation zone with just their third victory in the nine opening rounds of the season which have been hampered with numerous absentees at the Rugby World Cup.
Stade coach Heyneke Meyer, who was backed by owner Hans-Peter Wild this week despite the dismal start to the campaign, called upon four players who were at the World Cup including Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez.
His stand-in for the opening matches of the season, South Africa outside-half Morne Steyn, started on the bench in his final game for the club.
Racing's Laurent Travers had seven of his squad members back but the location of Fiji's Leone Nakarawa is still a mystery after the lock failed to turn up to training and has not answered calls from the club since returning home for a holiday.
Thomas opened the scoring after 11 minutes as the visitors dominated the early possession and Maxime Machenaud added the conversion.
Machenaud, who featured twice for France at the World Cup, extended his side's lead to 10-0 with a penalty from more than 40 metres after 18 minutes.
Stade pressed on, looking for their first points of proceedings and Sanchez slotted a 23rd-minute penalty after France centre Virimi Vakatawa was yellow-carded for being offside, to the pleasure of the locals.
Pumas playmaker Sanchez closed the gap to 10-6 with second succesful kick at the posts on 31 minutes.
Electric Thomas claimed his second touchdown of the half after picking up a well-weighted grubber kick with one hand, before Sanchez kicked a penalty and Racing led 15-9 at the break.
Machenaud kicked his second three-pointer of proceedings seven minutes into the second half to extend the advantage to 18-9 to the delight of the group of loud Racing fans in one corner of Stade Jean-Bouin.
Thomas dotted down for his third of the game after a sloppy Jonathan Danty knock-on in midfield as Racing secured a confidence boosting result ahead of welcoming European Champions Cup title holders Saracens to Paris next weekend.
Earlier on Sunday Fiji winger Josua Tuisova impressed on his first Lyon appearance since the World Cup as the leaders hammered La Rochelle 45-17.
Tuisova, 25, who scored twice as the Pacific Islanders were knocked out of the competition at the pool stage in Japan, played a part in three of his new side's five tries against last season's fellow semi-finalists.
Lyon's Pierre Mignoni handed club debuts to Tuisova and France's Demba Bamba who missed the opening eight rounds of the campaign due to their international commitments.
His La Rochelle counterpart Jono Gibbes started four players who participated at the World Cup including Tuisova's compatriot Levani Botia.
On Saturday, champions Toulouse hammered Clermont 34-8 in a re-run of June's final.
© 2019 AFP