Planet Rugby

Toulouse make the semi-finals

10th May 2013 21:51

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Gael Fickou celebrates a Toulouse win

Scored: Gael Fickou

Toulouse booked their passage into the Top 14 semi-finals where they will face Toulon after defeating Racing-Metro 33-19 at Stadium de Toulouse.

The champions will tackle this year's Heineken Cup finalists in two weeks in Nantes after Luke McAlister's 23-point haul led them to the last four.

McAlister opened the scoring in the third minute before Jonathan Wisniewski levelled moments later off the tee on a perfect surface for rugby.

Racing then jumped ahead when lock Patricio Albacete was penalised by referee Jérôme Garces in a high-paced opening to the action.

Toulouse though were beginning to gain the ascendancy and a lovely passage put them back in front when expansive rugby led to veteran Yannick Jauzion hitting a good line off McAlister before offloading to his centre partner Gael Fickou. McAlister missed the conversion.

By the 23rd minute, Guy Noves' charges were holding 69 percent of the possession and extended their advantage off the tee via number ten McAlister before the half-hour mark.

However, the Parisians hit back with interest in the 36th minute when the dangerous Sereli Bobo sparked a breakout from halfway. His ability to hold defences with the ball in one hand saw him create space for Masinivanua Matadigo, who dummied and raced over from 30 out.

That was not to be the half-time score though as Jean Marc Doussain's rather deliberate pass into an offside Francois van der Merwe led to McAlister knocking over three points from 35 metres out. Were the champions on their way to yet another domestic semi-final?

Another penalty success by McAlister just after the resumption pushed Toulouse further in front for 17-11 which soon became 24-11 when number eight Louis Picamoles, who had been a pre-match injury doubt, was supported over the try-line in a well-orchestrated move.

Racing cut the deficit soon after with their second try, scored by centre Henry Chavancy.

McAlister and Wisniewski exchanged penalties as Toulouse went into a 27-19 lead before 33-year-old Jauzion was replaced, the veteran centre leaving to a standing ovation.

Two more penalties from McAlister in front of 30,000 fans put Toulouse in complete control at 33-19 to set-up a mouth-watering semi-final clash against Toulon on May 24. The two sides met in the 2012 final at the Stade de France with Toulouse winning 18-12.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Fickou, Picamoles
Con: McAlister
Pen: McAlister 7

For Racing Metro:
Tries: Matadigo, Chavancy
Pen: Wisniewski 3

Stade Toulousain: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Yannick Jauzion, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 William Servat, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Romain Millo Chlusky, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Yann David, 23 Jean Batiste Poux.

Racing-Métro 92: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Sereli Bobo, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Masinivanua Matadigo, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Alvaro Galindo, 19 Jacques Cronje, 20 Sebastien Descons, 21 Alexandre Dumoulin, 22 Virimi Vakatawa, 23 Salemane Sa.

Referee: Jérôme Garces

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