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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019
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James Coughlan spills blood as Pau claim draw with Racing

Paddy Butler and Sean Dougall also started as Ronan O’Gara’s club were denied an away win.

FORMER MUNSTER STALWART James Coughlan was in the wars tonight as Pau and Racing shared the spoils of a 15 – 15 battle in southern France.

Coughlan received treatment for the wound sustained midway through the first half and returned to the field to play until he was replaced again seven minutes into the second half.

All Black Colin Slade made his debut for the hosts, playing the last 27 minutes at Pau’s Stade du Hameau and showed some deft touches despite not having played for over two months.

The result moved Racing 92 to the top of the table ahead of the rest of the weekend action and a week away from the eagerly-anticipated debut of New Zealand superstar Dan Carter.

Carter is likely to make his bow against Northampton in a European Champions Cup tie but could face competition for the kicking duties after scrum-half Maxime Machenaud booted all of Racing’s points on Friday.

Racing had been on course to win Friday’s match, leading 15-12 until the last minute. But replacement scrum-half Samuel Marquez kicked a penalty in front of the posts as Pau collected two valuable points in their fight to stay in the top flight.

“We ran into a team which deserved two points,” admitted Racing’s backs coach Laurent Labit.

It would be disrespectful to say anything else about a team who have defeated Toulouse and Montpellier here.

“Now we have to recover and get to European Cup level for when we face Northampton next week.”

Veteran full-back Damien Traille, back in his second spell at Pau at the age of 36, kicked the home side ahead with a halfway-line penalty which was quickly matched by Machenaud.

Thibaud Daubagna then knocked over a 40-metre penalty which was again cancelled out by Machenaud. But by the interval, 20-year-old Daubagna, who has come through the ranks at Pau, had succeeded with two more penalties for a 12-6 advantage.

First miss

Pau’s lead, however, was wiped out within a 10-minute spell early in the second period when they were reduced to 14 men after a yellow card for lock forward Julien Pierre.

Machenaud gratefully popped over two penalties for 12-12. That was the cue for Slade to make his entry off the bench in the 53rd minute.

It was his first slice of playing time since his only World Cup appearance against Namibia on September 28.

Daubagna missed a penalty for the first time in the match — and only second this season — moments later.

It proved costly as Racing slowly, steadily upped the pressure and Machenaud put the Paris giants in front for the first time at 15-12 in the 68th minute. But Marquez kept his composure with his last-ditch penalty which gave Pau a share of the spoils.

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AFP

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