In a draft match, Montpellier dominated Racing almost without shaking, ending a series of four defeats in a row and above all securing its place in the final phase. Leader one game from the end, the MHR will finish at worst in 3rd place, which would mean a barrage at home.
The MHR raced in the lead after a fine personal achievement by Anthony Bouthier (14th). The points passed by Benoit Paillaugue (40th, 57th, 61st) made it possible to widen the gap. Racing came back to score thanks to a penalty try (19-10) and a penalty from Machenaud (19-13). Paolo Garbisi sealed the score with a final penalty (22-13, 75th). Racing, provisional fifth, will play its qualification at the Arena of Nanterre in two weeks against Toulon.
La Rochelle – Stade Français: 32-13
Thanks to its improved victory of the day, Stade Rochelais is more than ever in the race to qualify for the final phase. With a reshuffled team in the big widths (and a Will Skelton finally on the bench and even entered the game at the end of the game) a week before their European final, the Maritimes knew that their hope of top 6 first passed through a success this Saturday against the Stade Français in Marcel-Deflandre.
He took shape in the first period, which ended with a 9-point lead (15-6). Despite the failures at the foot of a decidedly struggling Jules Plisson in the exercise (0/3), Ronan O’Gara’s men managed to outrun the Parisians. Pierre Popelin (26th), who also quickly replaced Jules Plisson to strike, and Arthur Retière (34th) scored important tries. The second period was more messy, Romain Sazy (65th) responding to Harry Glover (56th). And it was finally Pierre Boudehent who offered the offensive bonus to the 77th. So here they are again in the top 6 (3rd) one day before the end of the regular season and before a final trip to Lyon in two weeks.
The Toulonnais are still in the race for qualification. Before their European Challenge final in Marseille against Lyon on Friday, they fulfilled their mission seriously by obtaining an improved victory against the Paloise Section this Saturday, while preserving their executive players as much as possible, at rest (Parisse, Paia’aua) or on the bench (Ollivon, Serin, Carbonel, Luc).
Well helped by his pack, dominating in closed scrum, the RCT took control in the first period thanks to two tries scored by Facundo Isa in force (22nd) and Jiuta Wainiqolo at the end of the line (31st). Then Julien Blanc (58th) and Louis Carbonel (67th), for his last at Mayol, inflated the score before Wainiqolo offered the offensive bonus to Toulon after the siren. After the defeat of LOU in Bordeaux (42-10) and before the Toulouse match in Brive this Saturday evening (9:05 p.m.), the Var club therefore returns to the top 6 (6th).
By winning with the offensive bonus in Biarritz, ASM still has a chance of qualifying for the final phase of the Championship. But the Auvergnats were not imperial, especially in the first period, where it was necessary to wait until the last minute to see Jono Gibbes’ men register their first points. Damian Penaud concluded a nice three-quarter movement to give Clermont a small advantage at the break (3-7).
Then Sébastien Bézy also finished in the in-goal as soon as he returned from the locker room (45th), before Yohan Beheregaray flattened out in force (61st). At the end of the game, Penaud scored the offensive bonus try after a breakthrough by Cheikh Tiberghien (76th). Last in the Top 14, Biarritz Olympique suffered their 20th defeat of the season, for the farewell at home of their emblematic full-back, Ximun Lucu. For Clermont to hope to join the top 6 in extremis, it will be imperative to win against Montpellier on the last day in two weeks, while counting on favorable results on the other lawns.