Carter booed off as Racing slump to La Rochelle

Dave JAMES
1 / 4
La Rochelle's Kini Murimurivalu (L) is tackled by Racing 92's New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter during their Top 14 rugby match in Colombes on March 11, 2017

All Black legend Dan Carter was booed off as French champions Racing 92 slumped to a 38-15 home defeat to shock Top 14 leaders La Rochelle on Saturday.

The 35-year-old two-time World Cup winner had not played since the end of January due to a groin injury and last month was caught drink-driving in Paris.

And he suffered more misery on Saturday as the star fly-half kicked just one penalty before being hauled off to be replaced by Remi Tales just after the hour mark with whistles of impatience from his Stade Yves-du-Manoir home crowd ringing in his ears.

The loss left Racing in seventh place, three points outside the play-off places while La Rochelle stretched their lead at the top to eight points.

"We lost to a very good team but there are six games left, nothing has been decided," said Racing's backs coach Laurent Labit.

"What is sure is that we have to raise our level again. Week after week, it becomes more complicated but we're capable of putting a run together."

La Rochelle scored four tries, three of which came in the first half as they reached the interval with a healthy 22-8 lead.

Victor Vito, Jone Qovu and Eliott Roudil scored in the opening period with Roudil adding his second at the death in the second half.

Gerbrandt Grobler and Leone Nakarawa grabbed tries for Racing but the big-spending Parisians were unable to prevent La Rochelle clinching a 10th successive win.

Toulon ran in 12 tries in an 82-14 mauling of Bayonne but Toulouse slipped to a 21-19 loss at Brive, pushing the 19-time French champions closer to missing the play-offs for the first time in four decades.

Three-time European champions Toulon moved into fourth place thanks to tries from Liam Gill (7min, 56), Bryan Habana (13, 16), Juandre Smith (25, 52), Axel Muller (32, 78), a 36th-minute penalty try, Mathieu Bastareaud (40), Juan-Martin Fernandez-Lobbe (64) and Levan Chilachava (76).

- Toulouse face four-decade shock -

Rock-bottom Bayonne got on the board with tries from Gabiriele Lovobalavu on the half-hour and a last-minute score from Pelu Taela which brought sympathetic applause from a 16,000 crowd at Stade Mayol.

"I'm very happy with the victory and the five points," said Toulon assistant coach Richard Cockerill.

"But this wasn't against one of the strongest teams in the championship but the last. It was prohibited to lose tonight, prohibited to take just four points. We had to win well."

Toulouse suffered a fourth successive defeat at Brive which put them in serious jeopardy of missing the play-offs for the first time in 41 years.

They led 19-9 at half-time but seven penalties from Gaetan Germain proved decisive in defeat for a Toulouse side who played the last 15 minutes with 14 men after English fly-half Toby Flood was red-carded for kneeing Jean-Baptiste Péjoine.

"We know that we will need a significant number of points to get back to the qualifying places," said Toulouse boss Ugo Mola.

"We will obviously say that it's not over but, for sure, it's difficult."

Stade Francais remain third from bottom after losing 35-33 at Lyon despite having led 33-17 with just 20 minutes left to play.

Two of Lyon's scores were penalty tries while Carl Fearns and Delon Armitage also crossed in the space of seven second-half minutes.

Stade shrugged off the absence of pack stalwarts Rabah Slimani and Sergio Parisse, who were away on Six Nations duty, to see backrow forward Sekou Macalou score a try in the first minute.

Waisea Nayacalevu grabbed a brace but veteran kickers Fredric Michalak and Lionel Beauxis were rock-solid for Lyon with 15 points between them with the boot.

On Sunday, Clermont can cut La Rochelle's lead when they face fifth-placed Montpellier when they will be looking for a 10th home win 10 games this season.