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2019 Challenge Cup winners ASM Clermont Auvergne meet 2018 Heineken Champions Cup runners-up Racing 92 on Saturday in what is sure to be a thrilling all-French Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Marcel Michelin.
Clermont won five of six matches in Pool 3, including a crucial success over fellow quarter-finalists Ulster Rugby in Round 5, whereas Racing 92 won four and drew one of their six matches, including home victories over defending champions Saracens and two-time European Cup winners Munster Rugby.
You can watch Saturday’s last eight clash on BT Sport, beIN SPORTS and France Televisions from 17:45 (UK and Irish time).
ASM Clermont Auvergne: 1st, Pool 3, 24 points.
Racing 92: 1st, Pool 4, 23 points.
ASM Clermont Auvergne wins: 2
Racing 92 wins: 3
2019/20 point scorers
ASM Clermont Auvergne: Morgan Parra (53), Greig Laidlaw (29), George Moala, Alivereti Raka (both 25)
Racing 92: Maxime Machenaud (32), Teddy Thomas (30), Teddy Iribaren (28)
🗣 “He plays what he sees and is a breath of fresh air and an incredible talent as well."
Who's excited to see him in action this weekend? 😍https://t.co/YgcsSSCCMi
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) September 17, 2020
- ASM Clermont Auvergne and Racing 92 have met on five occasions in the Heineken Champions Cup with the Parisians winning three times, including their solitary knockout stage meeting – a 28-17 victory in 2018 at Stade Marcel-Michelin also in the quarter-finals.
- Clermont had won five in a row at this stage before losing to Racing with those victories coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Racing have a 50% win rate in the quarter-finals (W2, L2) with their two defeats coming by a single point. Three of their four previous games were against TOP 14 opposition (W2, L1).
- Clermont have won 35 of their last 37 home games in the Heineken Champions Cup (L2), however, their two defeats in that run were both against TOP 14 opposition (v Bordeaux-Bègles 2016 and Racing 2018).
- Racing have scored six tries from kick returns this season, more than any other side, while no other team has scored more tries originating from inside their own half than the Parisian club (7, level with Gloucester).
- Racing have made the most metres (2,932), the most breaks (85) and beaten the most defenders (197) of any side this season, however, Clermont have scored the most points (207).
- Clermont have won 52 turnovers in the pool stage, eight more than any other side, and individually no player has won more than Fritz Lee (7, level with five other players).
- Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92) has beaten the most defenders (39) while George Moala (Clermont) has beaten the second most (27). Vakatawa also tops the charts for clean breaks (14, level with Gloucester’s Ollie Thorley and teammate Teddy Thomas).
- Racing’s Finn Russell and Clermont’s Camille Lopez have each made six try assists in the pool stage, more than any other player. Russell’s teammate Maxime Machenaud is just one behind on five assists (level with Luke McGrath of Leinster).
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Racing 92 proved too strong for ASM Clermont Auvergne as they marched into the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals and a clash with Saracens after a 36-27 win at Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday evening.
The Parisians moved into a 16 point lead at the break and always kept the hosts at arms length to run out convincing winners at the finish.
It took them just three minutes to open the scoring as Simon Zebo drew his man before releasing Louis Dupichot to jump over in the corner for the first try.
Teddy Iribaren – who scored a total of 20 points from the kicking tee – made the conversion and then slotted over two further penalty kicks before Clermont responded on 25 minutes.
From the driving maul, it was all power from the Clermont forwards, finding Etienne Falgoux who did enough to pick a gap and drive over for their first points.
How about this for a start from Racing 92 😍
Magnificent carrying from Camille Chat, a lovely pass from Finn Russell, and Simon Zebo puts Louis Dupichot in!
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 19, 2020
However, the try-scorer was soon in the sin bin after a penalty at the scrum, allowing Iribaren to make another penalty kick before he and Camille Lopez then traded three-pointers.
But replacement Francois Trinh-Duc made sure Racing were in a commanding position at the break as the wily veteran chipped and chased his own kick before collecting and diving over the try line.
The conversion put Racing up by 16 at the break and that gap soon became 22 when Iribaren swung over another pair of penalty kicks to extend the lead.
Absolute magic from Damian Penaud 🤯
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 19, 2020
Tries from Wesley Fofana and Kotaro Matsushima either side of a successful Machenaud penalty kick trimmed the visitors’ lead but the Racing replacement kicker slotted over another three-pointer to put the game out of sight for Clermont.
They did round off the scoring through Damian Penaud’s wonderful solo effort, outmuscling Virimi Vakatawa and Finn Russell before regaining his balance and flying past Simon Zebo and scoring in the corner.
That win for Racing 92 sets up a mouthwatering Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against defending champions Saracens next Saturday at the La Defense Arena in Paris.