Armitage leads Toulon comeback
May 26, 2012
Toulon's Mathieu Bastareaud charges into the Racing Metro defence © Getty Images
Toulon rescued their season with a second-half comeback that set up a 17-14 victory over Racing Metro and a place in the Top 14 semi-final against Clermont Auvergne.
The hosts looked set to suffer further disappointment following their defeat to Biarritz in the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend as they trailed 13-3 early in the second half at the Stade Felix Mayol. Two penalties from former Wallaby Matt Giteau took Toulon within striking range and Steffon Armitage, who narrowly missed out on a place on England's tour to South Africa this summer, touched down to put the hosts ahead in the 66th minute. Giteau, who took over the kicking duties from Jonny Wilkinson, sealed the win with a third penalty at the death to take Toulon into the final four.
Racing had built up a promising lead thanks to a try from Benjamin Fall, five points from the boot of Sebastien Descons and a penalty from Frans Steyn.
Castres will face Toulouse in the Top 14 Orange semi-finals after seeing off Montpellier 31-15 in their play-off clash on Friday night.
Scrum-half Thierry Lacrampe scored the victors' only try - having earlier been sin-binned - with fly-half Pierre Bernard and fullback Romain Teulet sharing eight penalties. Montpellier, beaten finalists last season, were offered a glimmer of hope in the second-half after Castres lock Joe Tekori was sent off for a high tackle.
Aliki Fakate bagged their second try - adding to an earlier effort from No.8 Alex Tulou - while their opponents were down to 14 men, but Castres were able to hang on for victory.
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