Germain boots Racing to victory
December 14, 2012
Olly Barkley knocked over one penalty for Metro
© Getty Images
Racing Metro edged Edinburgh 15-3 at Murrayfield on Friday night with Gaetan Germain slotting 12 of their points.
The result meant that Racing Metro kept alive their bid for a spot in the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup while Edinburgh's solitary penalty leaves them with a dismal tally of only 12 points in matches after four Pool One games. The Parisians earned their win by virtue of their better haul from kicks at goal, with Germain booting four penalties and Olly Barkley one, while Edinburgh's counter came from Piers Francis.
The same two sides had served up a 95-point thriller when they met in the same competition last season, with Edinburgh posting a win that was instrumental in their progress to the semi-finals. This encounter could scarcely have been further removed, with neither team producing any running rugby of note, and both wasting numerous scoring opportunities with the boot.
With three minutes on the clock, Edinburgh were guilty of crossing as they attempted to run the ball out of defence, and Barkley steered the resultant kick between the sticks to open the scoring. The visitors doubled their advantage three minutes later when Germain thumped over a long-range penalty following an offence at a scrum just inside the Edinburgh half.
The hosts had barely featured in an attacking sense and their first visit of note to Racing territory yielded a long-range penalty which proved to be just beyond the range of Francis, making his first start for the Scottish outfit. The 22-year-old had an opportunity to make amends 10 minutes later from a far more favourable position after an offence at the breakdown, but he fluffed his effort.
The stand-off opened his account for Edinburgh at the third time of asking, clipping over a penalty from 25 metres after 27 minutes. But he squandered an opportunity to square matters after 32 minutes when he was wide with another straightforward effort after a bustling run by Ross Ford had earned another penalty.
Barkley was evidently afflicted by the same malaise, missing a chance to extend his side's lead just before half-time. Germain, too, was off target shortly after the restart when his attempt on goal rattled the woodwork. Francis responded with his fourth miss of the night. The clock ticked past the 50-minute mark without there having been any threat to either try line.
Inevitably the next change to the scoreboard came with the boot. A late tackle by Edinburgh number eight Netani Talei on Barkley earned the Fiji international a yellow card and Germain banged over the ensuing penalty from halfway to stretch the lead to six points. The scrappy nature of the contest continued. Edinburgh had another chance to claw back three points after Eddy Ben Arous offended, with the Racing prop earning 10 minutes in the sin bin for his troubles. Greig Tonks assumed the kicking responsibilities from the misfiring Francis, but the full-back fared no better.
In response, Germain fired over his third three-pointer of the night, and having found his range he landed another effort with 12 minutes left to play, leaving the Scots 12 points adrift and out of the game.
Edinburgh boss Michael Bradley was critical of his side's decision making post-game, commenting: "Some of our management of the game, particularly in the early part of the first half, was not good. The type of game and conditions it was meant you had to play in the right areas, take your kicks when they came your way and we weren't able to do that, therefore we lost.
"In conditions like that, the key issue is that you play in the right areas. More than that, I think we needed to manage the match better than we did. It's a lesson for us really, and a harsh lesson at that.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin