Racing outplay Clermont to reach Champions Cup semis
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Racing 92 proved too strong for Clermont Auvergne as they marched into the Champions Cup semifinals and a clash with Saracens after a 36-27 win at Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday.
The Parisians moved into a 16 point lead at the break and always kept the hosts at arms length to run out convincing winners at the finish.
It took them just three minutes to open the scoring as Simon Zebo drew his man before releasing Louis Dupichot to jump over in the corner for the first try.
Teddy Iribaren – who scored a total of 20 points from the kicking tee – made the conversion and then slotted over two further penalty kicks before Clermont responded on 25 minutes.
From the driving maul, it was all power from the Clermont forwards, finding Etienne Falgoux who did enough to pick a gap and drive over for their first points.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) September 19, 2020
However, the try-scorer was soon in the sin bin after a penalty at the scrum, allowing Iribaren to make another penalty kick before he and Camille Lopez then traded three-pointers.
But replacement Francois Trinh-Duc made sure Racing were in a commanding position at the break as the wily veteran chipped and chased his own kick before collecting and diving over the tryline.
The conversion put Racing up by 16 at the break and that gap soon became 22 when Iribaren swung over another pair of penalty kicks to extend the lead.
Tries from Wesley Fofana and Kotaro Matsushima either side of a successful Machenaud penalty kick trimmed the visitors’ lead but the Racing replacement kicker slotted over another three-pointer to put the game out of sight for Clermont.
They did round off the scoring through Damian Penaud’s wonderful solo effort, outmuscling Virimi Vakatawa and Finn Russell before regaining his balance and flying past Simon Zebo and scoring in the corner.
That win for Racing 92 sets up a mouthwatering Champions Cup semifinal against defending champions Saracens next Saturday at the La Defense Arena in Paris.
Tries: Falgoux, Fofana, Matsushima, Penaud
Cons: Lopez 2
Tries: Dupichot, Trinh-Duc
Pens: Iribaren 6, Machenaud 2
Yellow cards: Dominic Bird (Racing, 21); Etienne Falgoux (Clermont, 27); Rabah Slimani (Clermont, 62); Ali Oz (Racing, 65)
ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Apisai Naqalevu, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Bastien Pourailly, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra (captain), 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Judicaël Cancoriet, 6 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Etienne Fourcade, 1 Etienne Falgoux.
Replacements: 16 Adrien Pélissié, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Cristian Ojovan, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 Cheik Tiberghien, 23 Peter Betham.
Racing 92: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Louis Dupichot, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Olivier Klemenczak, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Teddy Iribaren (captain), 1 Eddy Ben Arous, 2 Camille Chat, 3 Georges Henri Colombe, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 5 Dominic Bird, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Fabien Sanconnie, 8 Antonie Claassen.
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Hassane Kolingar, 18 Ali Oz, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Antoine Gibert, 23 Francois Trinh-Duc.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Ludovic Cayre (France)
TMO: Denis Grenouillet (France)