Toulon face Racing in play-offs
May 12, 2012
Toulouse's Luke Burgess holds off the Montpellier defence © Getty Images
Toulouse finished at the summit of the Top 14 table while Racing Metro sealed the final play-off place on the last day of the regular season in France.
The reigning Top 14 champions beat Montpellier 20-13 to hold on to top spot despite second-place Clermont Auvergne thrashing Brive, whose relegation was confirmed. Racing fell to a 25-22 defeat to Agen but clung on to sixth place with Stade Francais failing to victory over Biarritz.
Toulouse and Clermont, both of whom finished on 87 points, go straight through to the semi-finals while Toulon will play Racing and Castres will tackle Montpellier for places in the final four.
Timoci Matanavou scored a hat-trick of tries and Lionel Beauxis kicked a penalty and a conversion to ensure Toulouse overcame Montpellier and finish top of the pile. Montpellier had led 10-5 with two minutes to go before half time after a try from Timoci Nagusa and conversion and penalty from Martin Bustos Moyano. But they could only add a drop goal from Francois Trinh-Duc as Toulouse stepped up their attacking game.
Sitiveni Sivivatu and Wesley Fofana both grabbed two tries a piece as Clermont crushed Brive 57-14. Regan King, Brent Russell, Lionel Faure and Kini Murimurivalu all touched down in the eight-try rout with Brock James kicking five conversions and a penalty and Morgan Parra landing two conversions.
Jonny Wilkinson kicked 19 points as Toulon confirmed third place with a 29-5 victory over relegated Lyon. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Sebastien Tillous-Borde both scored tries for the visitors as they warmed up for the play-offs with a strong display.
Montpellier's defeat to Toulouse allowed Castres to claim fourth with a 31-29 victory over Bayonne, who pushed the hosts all the way after fighting back from 31-15. Saimone Taumoepeau.
Two late penalties from Mathieu Lamoulie denied Racing Metro victory at Agen after the visitors had led 22-19 following two tries from Mathieu Loree and one from Juan Imhoff. But Stade Francais' failure to get the result they needed at Biarritz ensured Racing finished sixth. Damien Traille scored a try and Dimitri Yachvili kicked 11 points as Biarritz finished a frustrating season with a 16-5 win.
Bordeaux beat Perpignan 37-29 with Gerard Fraser's kicking - four conversions and two penalties - proving the difference between the two sides after they had both ran in four tries.
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