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Bath seals play-off spot with epic comeback against Racing 92

MATCH REPORT: Will Muir’s 71st-minute try capped off a stunning 14-point comeback from Bath, to secure their spot in the Champions Cup Round of 16 with a 29-25 win over Racing 92 at The Rec on Sunday.

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The Premiership side had trailed 22-8 early in the second period – with Thomas du Toit on the mark for the hosts – but second-half tries from Alfie Barbeary, Joe Cokanasiga and Muir turned the tide for Bath who secured the bonus point victory.

Nolann le Garrec contributed 15 points for the TOP 14 side in defeat with a try, two penalties and two conversions to his name. Kitione Kamikamica and Henry Arundell also crossed the whitewash for the visitors who suffered their third defeat in three games.

It was scrumhalf Le Garrec who opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty – moments after Bath were reduced to 14 men when No.8 Barbeary was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.

Le Garrec’s opposite number Spencer responded with a 13th-minute penalty of his own to level proceedings. However, some sustained pressure from the visiting TOP 14 club in the 19th minute led to the opening try of the afternoon – Le Garrec burrowing through bodies to dot down before adding the extras himself.

Bath responded well to being behind and forced Racing 92’s Will Rowlands into illegally stopping an attack down the right flank, earning the lock a 10-minute sin-bin. From the resulting penalty, prop Du Toit powered over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 8-10 in the 33rd minute.

Champions Cup Pool Two standings after three rounds

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Starting the second half with 14 men, it was the visiting TOP 14 outfit who notched first on the scoreboard. A delectable cross-field kick by flyhalf Antoine Gibert was gathered by No.8 Kamikamica who finished in the corner in the 43rd minute – Le Garrec again true from the tee with the extras.

That lead was extended ten minutes later as wing Arundell scampered down the right flank after some quick ball at the breakdown.

Trailing 22-8, the hosts began to assert themselves as they searched for a route back into the contest. On the hour mark, Barbeary reduced arrears by powering over when the Bath pack went to work close to the try line – Spencer connecting with the extras.

Three minutes later, the Premiership side continued their onslaught with wing Cokanasiga gathering a deft offload from inside centre Cameron Redpath to dot down in the corner. Spencer again hit the two points, this time via the left upright to bring the scores level at 22-22.

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A 68th-minute penalty from Le Garrec restored a three-point advantage for the TOP 14 club.

However, Bath were not to be denied as Muir was the recipient of a delightful inside pass by outside centre Ollie Lawrence, to cross for the bonus point try.

Further drama was to ensue as Barbeary was awarded a second yellow card, leaving Bath to defend the final five minutes with 14 men.

Having now qualified, Bath will be eager to secure a home Round of 16 tie when they visit five-time winners Stade Toulousain in Round 4 next Sunday.

Meanwhile, Racing 92 host Cardiff on Saturday at the Paris La Defense Arena, still hoping to gain their spot in the knockout stage.

The scorers

For Bath
Tries: Du Toit, Barbeary, Cokanasiga, Muir
Cons: Spencer 3
Pen: Spencer

For Racing 92
Tries: Le Garrec, Kamikamica, Arundell
Cons: Le Garrec 2
Pens: Le Garrec 2

Yellow cards: Alfie Barbeary (Bath, 5), Will Rowlands (Racing, 33)

Teams:

Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben Spencer (captain), 8. Alfie Barbeary, 7. Miles Reid, 6. GJ van Velze, 5. Charlie Ewels, 4. Quinn Roux, 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Tom Dunn, 1. Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Sam Harris, 23 Chris Cloete

Racing 92: 15 Max Spring, 14 Vinaya Habosi, 13 Gael Fickou (captain), 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Henry Arundell, 10 Antoine Gibert, 9 Nolann le Garrec, 8. Kitione Kamikamica, 7. Siya Kolisi, 6. Wenceslas Lauret, 5. Will Rowlands, 4. Cameron Woki, 3. Thomas Laclayat, 2. Camille Chat, 1. Hassane Kolingar.
Replacements: 16 Janick Tarrit, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Maxime Baudonne, 21 Ibrahim Diallo, 22 Tristan Tedder, 23 Francis Saili

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy), Filippo Russo (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

Source: @ChampionsCup

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