Ospreys offered no complaints after seeing full-back Dan Evans receive one of the quickest red cards in professional rugby union history.
Evans was sent off by referee Frank Murphy after just 37 seconds at the Liberty Stadium when his boot made contact with Racing 92 wing Teddy Thomas’ head as he claimed a high ball.
Ospreys also saw Wales backs Scott Williams and Aled Davies sin-binned during an opening half when they were briefly reduced to 12 men as Racing claimed a 40-19 Heineken Champions Cup success.
Asked about the Evans incident, Ospreys forwards coach Carl Hogg said: “I think it was unintentional. But I think nowadays any contact to the head, the player is going to be in trouble. Clearly, when you get as many red and yellow cards, discipline is an issue.”
Ospreys skipper Dan Lydiate added: “It was never intentional, but (by) the letter of the law, player safety is paramount.”
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European title contenders Racing – beaten finalists in 2016 and 2018 – did not require a second invitation to capitalise as Thomas’ try double, a penalty try and touchdown for hooker Teddy Baubigny secured a bonus point before half-time.
Davies, wing Hanno Dirksen and prop Ma’afu Fia claimed tries for the battling Ospreys, with fly-half Marty McKenzie adding two conversions, as they held their opponents 12-12 after the break.
Racing managed further scores for Yoan Tanga and captain Henry Chavancy, while Maxime Machenaud, who was sin-binned four minutes from time, kicked four conversions.
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Hogg said: “It makes it very difficult when you lose a player in the first minute of the game, then concede a couple of yellow cards and play the majority of the first half against one of the best sides in Europe.
“Credit to the players. In the second half they regrouped and showed a huge amount of character and spirit to battle back, because it would have been very easy to fold.
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“It is disappointing that we didn’t really give ourselves an opportunity to stay in the contest, but there are elements of that game we can take away and apply going forward in the season.”
Wales centre Owen Watkin, meanwhile, limped off after just 17 minutes, which compounded Ospreys’ first-half problems. “Owen has got an issue with his knee,” Hogg added. “I haven’t had a full assessment. We will see where that sits Sunday or Monday.”
Racing’s win took them top of Pool Four by a point from Munster with three games left.
– Press Association
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