Pollard stretchered off, Beale sent off, in Racing's win over Montpellier

Paris (AFP) –


Rugby World Cup winner Handre Pollard was stretchered off in Montpellier's 41-14 Top 14 loss at Racing 92 on Friday, on a night that saw the host's Kurtley Beale sent off on his home debut at Paris La Defense Arena.

South African Pollard, 26, who joined Montpellier on a reported annual salary of 1.06 million euros ($1.2 million) after lifting the Webb Ellis trophy last November, was hurt while attempting to tackle Racing's Baptiste Chouzenoux in the second-half.

Wallaby Beale was shown a red card with a quarter of the game to play after a dangerous tackle on France centre Arthur Vincent and could be a doubt for next Saturday's Champions Cup quarter-final at Clermont.

France prop Mohamed Haouas was brought back into the fold by the visitors after being disciplined for a reported altercation with a club sponsor and turning up late to training.

The Parisians' head coach Laurent Travers brought in eight new faces after last Saturday's win at Lyon but Wallaby Beale retained his place at full-back to make his home bow.

They led 11-0 after 20 minutes thanks to Teddy Iribaren's two penalty kicks and Teddy Baubigny's try.

Pollard claimed his team's first points with a shot at goal five minutes later before Juan Imhoff claimed Racing's second try of the evening just before the break.

The home side's dominance continued into the second half as Virimi Vakatawa and Antonie Claassen benefited to touch down after delicate Finn Russell kicks.

With 18 minutes to play Beale, with special gold stitching on his shirt to denote his La Defense Arena bow, was given his marching orders for as his arm made contact with Vincent's head in a tackle.

Montpellier lock Janse van Rensburg made the most of the one-man advantage as he crashed over and France full-back Anthony Bouthier, who took over the kicking duties from Pollard, converted to make it 31-10 with a quarter of an hour to play.

Substitute scrum-half Maxime Machenaud extended Racing's lead to 34-10 with a 67th minute penalty but the red card had a further impact as Travers' conceded again.

Pollard's club and country half-back partner Cobus Reinach raced through after a line-out move to dive over and Bouthier's extras made 34-17.

Despite the worries Racing regained a bonus point with the last play of the game as substitute prop Hassane Kolingar scored from a driving maul.