Racing sweep aside Stade
MATCH REPORT: Racing 92 weathered a first-half onslaught to eventually breeze past Stade Français at Paris La Defense Arena on Sunday and confirm a home Champions Cup quarterfinal encounter with Sale Sharks.
A penalty try, a Teddy Thomas double and a Wenceslas Lauret score saw Racing record a 33-22 win on the night and a 55-31 aggregate success in the two-legged Round of 16 contest with their Paris rivals.
Telusa Veainu and Adrien Lapegue (2) got over for Stade Français, but their efforts to overhaul a 13-point deficit from the first leg were hindered by Sefa Naivalu’s red card.
There was a dream start for Stade Français as full-back Veainu gathered a loose kick on halfway and glided through the onrushing Racing defenders to dot down for a try, converted by fly-half Nicolas Sanchez to reduce the aggregate deficit to six points.
Sanchez added three more points to Stade Français’ tally with a penalty on 14 minutes, but wing Sefa Naivalu was yellow-carded moments later for an illegal tip tackle, and Racing was quick to strike with an effort from Nolann Le Garrec from the tee.
Stade Français would get over again, however, despite being a man down, as wing Lapegue darted over in the corner after another loose ball landed in the visitors’ hands.
Sanchez was unable to convert as Racing remained marginally ahead on aggregate, and the hosts almost hit back as hooker Camille Chat got the ball grounded over the Stade Français line, but a slight knock-on by wing Juan Imhoff saw that effort invalidated.
Referee Nika Amashukeli warned both front rows over their scrummaging during the opening stages, and he lost patience on 25 minutes as Racing prop Cedate Gomes Sa and Stade Français counterpart Clément Castets were both sent to the sin bin.
Le Garrec added a second penalty to extend Racing’s aggregate lead on half an hour, and they were then awarded a penalty try with five minutes remaining in the half as Naivalu failed to wrap his in arms in attempting to deny full-back Louis Dupichot a score in the corner.
Naivalu received a second yellow card for his actions, resulting in a red, reducing Stade Français to 14 men just after the previous sin bins had expired.
But Stade Français struck again just before the break, Lapegue producing an electric step and turn of pace to go over in the corner. Sanchez added the extras to bring the aggregate gap down to four points.
Wing Thomas’ excellent finish shortly after the interval, converted by Le Garrec, gave Racing some breathing room.
Stade Français almost responded, however, scrum-half James Hall’s effort was chalked off by the TMO.
From there, their hopes of reaching the last eight began slipping away as Le Garrec’s third penalty on 55 minutes moved Racing ahead on the night – and further clear on aggregate.
That lead would be consolidated by two tries in the final 10 minutes – flanker Lauret splashing over after a flowing move before Thomas notched his score following a similarly fluid passage of play.
Racing will now begin to plan for a clash with Sale at Paris La Defense Arena on the weekend of May 6/7/8.
For Racing 92
Tries: Thomas 2, Lauret, Penalty try
Cons: Le Garrec, penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: Le Garrec 3
For Stade Francais Paris
Tries: Veainu, Lapegue 2
Cons: Sanchez 2
Racing 92: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Henry Chavancy (captain), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Nolann Le Garrec, 8 Yoan Tanga, 7 Anthime Hemery, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Boris Palu, 4 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Guram Gogichashvili.
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Baptiste Pesenti, 20 Ibrahim Diallo, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Antoine Gibert, 23 Olivier Klemenczak.
Stade Francais: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Harry Glover, 12 Alex Arrate, 11 Adrien Lapegue, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 James Hall, 8 Tala Gray (captain), 7 Romain Briatte, 6 Loic Godener, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Juan Johan Van der Mescht, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Lucas Da Silva, 1 Clément Castets.
Replacements: 16 Laurent Panis, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Charlie Francoz, 21 William Percillier, 22 Joris Segonds, 23 Léo Barre.
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Adam Leal (England)
TMO: Dean Richards (England)