Toulon made to fight to beat Racing in play-offs
Toulon qualifed for the French Top 14 semi-finals after a tense, come-from-behind 17-13 play-off win over Racing Metro on Saturday.
Toulon will face Clermont in their June 3 semi, with Castres, who beat Montpellier 31-15 on Friday, up against Toulouse 24 hours earlier.
Toulon were made to work for this win, Jonny Wilkinson’s side trailing 13-3 at half-time following a try by Benjamin Fall and eight points from the boot of Sebastien Descons and Francois Steyn.
Toulon’s only points at the break were one successful penalty from Wilkinson from four attempts.
Australian Matt Giteau took over from the misfiring England star in the second period to add the first six points after the break.
After the hour, Toulon were back in the game at 13-9, and they then took the lead for the first time when flanker Steffon Armitage touched down with Giteau adding a late penalty to see Toulon home.
Racing coach Pierre Berbizier, summing up his side’s uneven performance, said: “We were actors in the first half and spectators in the second. And we’ll be spectators again, in front of our television sets, next weekend (for the semi-finals).”
Castres booked their last four ticket on Friday night with victory over Montpellier for their first appearance in the semi-finals since 2001.
Pierre Bernard and Romain Teulet were responsible for kicking 26 points combined.
This win was revenge for Castres after they lost 18-17 at home at the same stage last year to Montpellier.