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Poupart Julien/ABACA Fickou's break earned Racing a penalty try (file photo).
# Top 14
O'Gara's La Rochelle suffer second loss as Fickou shines for Racing
23-10 win sends Racing to the summit of the Top 14.

FRANCE CENTRE GAEL Fickou inspired Racing 92 to a 23-10 home win over La Rochelle to send them to the summit of the French Top 14.

La Rochelle director of rugby Ronan O’Gara was forced into three changes from last Sunday’s opening weekend loss to champions Toulouse with Australia lock Will Skelton banned pending a disciplinary hearing for a shoulder charge.

At La Defense Arena, the hosts led 7-3 at the break as Fickou’s club and Test midfield partner Virimi Vakatawa crossed following a delicate Kurtley Beale pass between the Australia full-back’s legs.

The sides were level 10-10 going into the final quarter as Kevin Gourdon charged over for La Rochelle.

Fickou’s moment of individual brilliance came with 10 minutes to go as he broke free 40m out and was only stopped as Remi Bourdeau dived on the centre as he was about to ground the ball to score.

Referee Tual Trainini showed Bourdeau a yellow card and awarded a penalty try following the efforts from Fickou, who also made a leading 14 tackles.

Fickou, who arrived in March after a controversial move from Parisian rivals Stade Francais, left the field to applause from his new home crowd with five minutes to go as Racing held on for the victory to gain revenge for last season’s semi-final defeat.

© – AFP, 2021

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