Racing end Toulon's European reign, Tigers hammer Stade


Maxime Machenaud's late penalty ended Toulon's European Champions Cup dominance as Racing 92 beat the three-time defending champions 19-16 to set up a semi-final with Leicester Tigers, who hammered French champions Stade Francais.

Toulon have been crowned European champions in each of the last three years, but their reign was ended by Top 14 rivals Racing in a gripping encounter at Stade Yves du Manoir on Sunday.

Machenaud missed three penalties after taking over kicking duties from Dan Carter, who remained on the field despite suffering an injury in the first half, but the France fly-half showed nerves of steel from the tee to put Racing through two minutes from time.

Racing were beaten by a late Toulon penalty in a Top 14 encounter a fortnight ago, but set about getting revenge in Paris when Jimmy Imhoff intercepted a Maxime Mermoz pass to score the opening try two minutes in.

Carter had already slotted over a penalty and the former New Zealand fly-half's conversion gave Racing an early 10-0 lead, but a Charles Ollivon try and five points from the boot of Jonathan Pelissie made it 10-10 at half-time.

Pelissie put Toulon, who welcomed back Matt Giteau, in front for the first time with a penalty early in the second half and levelled at 16-16 just before the hour-mark in a game of fine margins after Machenaud had found his range with two penalties.

Toulon scrum-half Pelissie and Delon Armitage both missed their second penalties of the game after the break, which proved to be costly as Machenaud made amends for his misses by splitting the posts with time running out.

Racing, who lost captain Dimitri Szarzewski to injury in the first half, will fly the flag for France in the last four after the Tigers put Stade to the sword to ensure there will be no Paris derby at the semi-final stage.

Stade were blown away by the Premiership side at Welford Road, as Manu Tuilagi scored the opening try right at the start and the Tigers never looked back as they ran in three tries in each half.

Niki Goneva crossed twice and Freddie Burns also went over as he racked up 16 points to ensure Leicester eased through at a canter to join Premiership rivals Saracens and Wasps in the last four.