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2017 finalists ASM Clermont Auvergne host Pool 4 runners-up Racing 92 in Sunday’s opening European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Marcel-Michelin, live on Sky Sports.
This will be the fifth meeting in European competition between the TOP 14 clubs. The four previous matches have all been in the pool stage and all won by the home side on the day.
This will be Clermont’s ninth quarter-final appearance. They lost their initial three matches at this stage, but have won their last five.
Clermont have won their last three fixtures against TOP 14 opposition, including their most recent quarter-final game against RC Toulon last season.
Dimanche nous serons très heureux d’accueillir les joueurs du @Racing92 dans notre PETIT vestiaire visiteurs pour un GRAND match de #Rugby ? @ChampionsCup_FR #ChacunPeutSeFaireSonOpinion #ASMR92 #YellowArmy pic.twitter.com/NuSZsbsnbd
— ASM Rugby (@ASMOfficiel) March 30, 2018
Racing have won their last three matches in a row, and they have never won four consecutive Champions Cup matches before.
Clermont won a competition high 49 turnovers in the pool stage with 20 different players contributing to the total.
Racing made a total of just 30 clean breaks in the pool stage, the fewest of any side. Teddy Thomas (5) and Virimi Vakatawa (5) accounted for a third of these.
ASM Clermont Auvergne line-up
15. Nick Abendanon; 14. Peter Betham, 13. Damian Penaud, 12. Rémi Lamerat, 11. Remi Grosso; 10. Pato Fernandez, 9. Morgan Parra; 1. Etienne Falgoux, 2. Benjamin Kayser, 3. Rabah Slimani, 4. Arthur Iturria, 5. Sébastien Vahaamahina, 6. Peceli Yato, 7. Alexandre Lapandry, 8. Fritz Lee
16. John Ulugia, 17. Loni Uhila, 18. Davit Zirakashvili, 19. Sitaleki Timani, 20. Damien Chouly, 21. Greig Laidlaw, 22. Camille Lopez, 23. Wesley Fofana
Racing 92 line-up
15. Louis Dupichot; 14. Teddy Thomas, 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 12. Henry Chavancy, 11. Marc Andreu; 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Maxime Machenaud; 1. Eddy Ben Arous, 2. Camille Chat, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Donnacha Ryan, 5. Leone Nakarawa, 6. Wenceslas Lauret, 7. Bernard Le Roux, 8. Yannick Nyanga
16. Ole Avei, 17. Vasil Kakovin, 18. Cedate Gomes Sa, 19. Boris Palu, 20. Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21. Dan Carter, 22. Xavier Chauveau, 23. Joe Rokocoko
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Racing 92 progressed to the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finals after defeating ASM Clermont Auvergne 28-17 in a breathtaking away performance at Stade Marcel-Michelin.
- Tries from Marc Andreu, Leone Nakarawa and Boris Palu ensured the away side would leave Clermont with a semi-final berth, while ASM could only muster one try through Peter Betham.
- Scrum-half Morgan Parra kicked three early penalties to give Clermont the lead, but went behind on the half hour after Leone Nakarawa ran in a superb try while a conversion and penalty from Maxime Machenaud kept the scoreboard ticking over for Racing.
- Betham’s try ensured Clermont would take a slender lead into the second half, but were blown away in the final 20 minutes of the match with replacements Dan Carter and Palu changing the game for Racing.
- Machenaud and Carter combined to find Andreu out wide who dived over the try line to put Racing ahead, and they went further clear a minute later when Boris Palu crossed the whitewash.
- Racing 92 will play Munster Rugby at Stade Chaban Delmas, Bordeaux in the Champions Cup semi-final on the weekend of 21/22 April.
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