Siya Kolisi marks Racing 92 debut with a bonus-point win over European champions

Siya Kolisi marks Racing 92 debut with a bonus-point win over European champions

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi marked his Racing 92 debut with a big win as they overcame La Rochelle 32-10 in the Top 14 on Sunday.

This was Kolisi's first match since arriving in Paris after the Rugby World Cup and it was one to savour for the club's fans as they got the better of the Champions Cup holders.

Tries from Juan Imhoff and Antoine Gibert were added to by a penalty try and points off the tee from Nolann Le Garrec as Racing went into the half-time break with a 24-3 lead.

La Rochelle had France international winger Teddy Thomas red-carded in the 25th minute for a high tackle on Le Garrec that dented Ronan O'Gara's team's chances.

Unsurprisingly Kolisi was the centre of attention in the build-up to the Top 14 game as he was pictured warming up for his first match since the triumphant World Cup final.

Kolisi started in the back row alongside France international Wenceslas Lauret and Jordan Joseph while Les Bleus' Cameron Woki was in the second row for the hosts.

The Springboks skipper played for 54 minutes of his first Top 14 run-out before being replaced by Max Baudonne as Racing managed to see out the latter stages.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Kolisi admitted to nerves ahead of the match, despite having just come through the pressure cooker atmosphere of a Rugby World Cup.

"I was quite nervous before the game because your reputation and all that you do can only take you so far," he told reporters.

"The guys only respect you by what you do on the field and that's what I wanted to do, play well and add value with what I do on the field.

"It's going to be tough for me to stamp my authority but I'm going to give my best," he added.

Kolisi has emerged as a prominent figure in French rugby, gracing television shows and front pages of newspapers post the World Cup and becoming a symbolic face of the sport.

Racing 92's bonus-point win moves them to the top of the standings after Round Eight.

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