Planet Rugby

Sexton kicks Racing into semi-finals

09th May 2014 21:43

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Racing Metro s fly half Jonathan Sexton passes the ball v Toulouse

All 21 points: Jonathan Sexton

Toulouse will miss the Top 14 semi-finals for the first time in 21 years after a shock 21-16 defeat to Racing Metro in Friday's play-off at Stade Ernest Wallon.

Jonathan Sexton kicked all his team's points as the Parisians secured their first ever semi-final since the creation of the Top 14.

Racing will now face Toulon in Lille on May 16 in the first semi-final.

Toulouse scored the only try of the game - through Hosea Gear - and will harbour many regrets after a woeful kicking display from fly-half Jean-Marc Doussain cost the hosts victory.

Four Sexton penalties saw Racing go into the interval ahead at 12-3, but Toulouse bounced back strongly in the second half with Gear scoring shortly after the break.

While Doussain missed two absolute sitters that would have given his side some breathing room in the final quarter, Sexton finished with a perfect record from the kicking tee, ensuring that his side were rewarded for their dominance at scrum time.

Toulouse struggled to get a foothold in the game as coach Guy Novès's plan of switching former All Black Luke McAlister to centre from his usual fly-half slot for the first time since August appeared to backfire.

The Toulouse set piece was also under massive pressure, coughing up three penalties at scrum time and turning over possession three times at crucial line-outs in the first half alone.

Indeed the first 40 minutes were largely forgettable for the home side as McAlister hit the crossbar with a long-range penalty effort and Florian Fritz spent ten minutes in the blood bin after a savage blow to the head.

At half time Toulouse made four changes including both props as Gurthro Steenkamp and Yohann Montes came on while Fritz also stayed in the changing room with Gael Fickou taking over in midfield. Yannick Nyanga replaced Yacouba Camara.

The substitutions immediately paid dividends as it was a charge from Nyanga that set up the Toulouse try as the flank bust through before Doussain chipped one over the top for Gear to collect and dot down.

Doussain added the conversion but missed a penalty right in front after Yoann Huget was held up over the line to leave Racing 12-10 ahead.

But the home side had a new lease on life and Doussain could find the mark with his next effort to put Toulouse back in front at 13-12 with half an hour to play after Julien Brugnaut was penalised for a dangerous tackle on McAlister.

Sexton and Doussain exchanged penalties for tackle indiscretions to leave Toulouse leading 16-15 on the hour mark.

Sexton edged Racing ahead when Toulouse were caught offside and Doussain - playing at fly-half for only the third time in the Top 14 - missed another easy penalty to give the Parisians a two-point head start going into the final ten minutes.

Sexton showed him how to do it with a seventh successful penalty two minutes from times with a 41-metre kick.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Try: Gear
Con: Doussain
Pen: Doussain 3

For Racing Metro:
Pens: Sexton 7

Toulouse: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Luke Mcalister, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Jean Marc Doussain, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yacouba Camara 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Joe Tekori , 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Timoci Matanavou, 21 Gael Fickou, 22 Akapusi Qera, 23 Yohann Montes.

Racing Metro: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Jacques Cronje, 7 Bernard le Roux. 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Virgile Lacombe, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Fabrice Metz, 19 Wenceslas Lauret, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 Fabrice Estebanez, 22 Benjamin Fall , 23 Brian Mujati.

Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse
Referee: Jérôme Garcès

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