Chabal fires Racing into Top 14 play off safety

Two second-half tries, one by French rugby icon Sebastian Chabal, saw Racing-Metro rediscover some much-needed form with a 25-18 victory over Top 14 rivals Brive on Saturday.

His try and that of Sireli Bobo saw Racing to only their second win in seven matches this year but ensured they stayed in the six spot in the table – which guarantees a place in the end of season title play-offs and in next season’s European Cup.

By contrast their Paris rivals Stade Francais look doomed to not making the play-offs for the first time in almost a decade as they were outclassed 44-23 by defending champions Perpignan, who lead the standings on head to head meetings with Castres, who ran out 26-10 winners over relegation-threatened Bayonne.

Stade now trail Racing by 10 points with three matches remaining.

Racing looked to be fully in control in the early stages of the first-half as South African World Cup winning star Francois Steyn landed two penalties and a drop goal.

However, the match was turned on its head with 10 minutes remaining of the half when Racing were pegged back into their own half and Steyn was yellowcarded.

Brive took full advantage immediately with Retief Uys going over for a try which Alexis Palisson was unable to convert to make it Racing 9 Brive 8.

However, Racing extended their lead shortly before the break as veteran former All Black fly-half Andrew Mehrtens added a penalty.

Indeed Steyn was still on his 10 minute enforced break early in the second-half when Chabal pounced to touch down the ball after Santiago Dellape had bravely blocked Brive fullback Palisson’s clearance kick.

Mehrtens added a penalty in the 50th minute to put Racing comfortably ahead and then livewire left wing Bobo touched down in the right corner.

Mehrtens failed to convert and Brive fought their way back into the match as England international Jamie Noon finished off a superb move which involved English World Cup winning hooker Steve Thompson and Palisson -the latter added a conversion to make it 25-15.

Palisson added a penalty three minutes from time but it was too little too late and left Chabal a happy man.

“I came into the match in good form and we were determined not to repeat our performance from our last match and decided to play a lot more with the ball today,” said Chabal.

“This we did and you can see the results. The match against Biarritz in a fortnight could be pivotal to who makes the last place but with our team spirit and enthusiasm I believe it will be us,” added the lock, who was celebrating capturing France’s first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2004 last Saturday.

Perpignan trailed Stade early on through a drop goal and a penalty by Lionel Beauxis only to hit back forcefully with two tries in five minutes.

Fullback Jerome Porical rounded off a fine move in the 16th minute to touch down and add the conversion himself for good measure – and then it was the turn of lock Gerrie Britz to bulldoze over for the five points.

Beauxis, now seemingly out of contention for a place in the France squad having failed to find favour with national coach Marc Lievremont during the Six Nations, reduced the deficit to three points with a penalty in the 26th minute.

Wing Farid Sid added a third for the defending champions – shortly after being denied one by the video referee – in the 33rd minute.

The match threatened to turn into a massacre as Perpignan added a fourth try before the break as the impressive Grand Slam winning centre David Marty beat three defenders to score – Porical added a conversion to make it 24-9.

Porical carried on the fiesta – that is from a Perpignan point of view -just after the break touching down for his second try of the afternoon, added the conversion and then followed it up with a penalty in the 53rd minute to make it 34-9.

Four more tries were to follow – two ap

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.