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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020

Jonny Sexton's Racing Métro downed by minnows Oyonnax

The Ireland out-half missed with his only two kicks of the game.

Sexton missed two penalties for Racing.
Sexton missed two penalties for Racing.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

RACING METRO SUFFERED their seventh Top 14 loss of the season after going down 6-0 to Oyonnax this evening.

Jonny Sexton played the full eighty minutes for the Parisians, but couldn’t help prevent the nail-biting defeat. The Ireland out-half missed with the only two penalty attempts he had, with both slipping narrowly wide.

The former Leinster man shook his head and directed a wry smile at assistant coach Ronan O’Gara after the second penalty. Both efforts had looked like being on target before the strong wind pulled them narrowly off course at the last moment.

Oyonnax were deserved winners for their sheer desire and fight in contact during what was an arm wrestle of a match on a desperately poor pitch at Stade Charles Mathon. The fact that Christophe Urios’ side work off a budget in the region of €9.2 million – compared to Racing’s €23 million – makes this achievement all the greater.

The result comes as less of a shock when Oyonnax’s previous home victories over the likes of Clermont, Castres and Toulon are taken into account. Last season’s Pro D2 champions have made the Charles Mathon a true fortress, and the town’s 23,000 population are renowned as some of the best rugby supporters in France.

Urios’ men were forced to repel an extended onslaught metres out from their try-line in the closing minutes, with some heart-stopping moments rescued by their dogged defence.

For Racing, this defeat comes as a stark contrast to the home victory over Toulon last weekend, and again suggests that Jack Lorenzetti’s club have some way to go before they will be competing for trophies. Mike Phillips and Dan Lydiate were left on the bench for this clash, with their late substitute appearances not proving enough to turn the game around.

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Murray Kinsella

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