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2018 finalists Racing 92 will host four-time winners Toulouse in the final Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at Paris La Defense Arena on Sunday.
Toulouse come into the clash having not lost since a Round 5 defeat to Leinster Rugby while Racing 92 enjoyed another outstanding pool stage campaign. You can watch the action from 15:15 BST on BT Sport, FR2 and beIN SPORTS.
Racing 92: 1st, Pool 4, 26 points
Toulouse: 2nd, Pool 1, 21 points
Racing 92 wins: First meeting
Draw: First meeting
Toulouse wins: First meeting
Racing 92: Finn Russell (48), Simon Zebo and Juan Imhoff (25)
Toulouse: Thomas Ramos (60), Sofiane Guitone (20), Antoine Dupont and Maxime Medard (both 15)
Jean Bouilhou (Toulouse): “I think it’ll be key to keep possession and not give it away to our opponents, because Racing are so strong on home soil.”
Maxime Medard (Toulouse): “Coming out of a difficult pool, where we didn’t necessarily expect to qualify, to now find ourselves in the quarter-finals is wonderful, particularly after a tough few years at the club. We’re now back in the competition and we’ve put Toulouse back on the map in European rugby.”
We simply cannot get enough of this @racing92 Round 3 score 😍
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 28, 2019
- Teddy Thomas returns on the wing for Racing, who also bring back fly-half Finn Russell, a complete front row and 2018 EPCR European Player of the Year Leone Nakarawa.
- Toulouse recall their big guns in the backs, with French internationals Yoann Huget, Sofiane Guitoune and Romain Ntamack all returning along with South African Cheslin Kolbe.
- Racing 92 and Toulouse have never met in European competition before, however, this is the fourth season in a row there has been an all-TOP 14 clash at the quarter-final stage.
- This will be Racing’s fourth appearance in the knockout stage, winning their previous two such games against French opposition (2016 v RC Toulon and 2018 v Clermont) but losing against Saracens in 2015.
- Toulouse have lost their last three quarter-finals, but conversely have won all four of their games at this stage against TOP 14 opposition.
- Racing, who were defeated finalists in 2016 and last season, averaged more metres (543) and clean breaks (13) per game than any other side in the pool stage this season.
- Racing (28/28) and Toulouse (29/29) were the only two sides to maintain a 100% scrum success rate during the pool stage.
- Toulouse made a total of 90 offloads, 10 more than anyone else with Racing in second with 80 during the pool stage.
- Sofiane Guitoune was one of just nine players to play every minute (480) of the pool stage this season, crossing for four tries in the six games.
- Cheslin Kolbe beat more defenders (41) than any other player during the pool stage.
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
Four-time European Cup winners Toulouse defeated Racing 92 22-21 on Sunday in a pulsating Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final in Paris.
Toulouse got off to the perfect start as Racing wing Teddy Thomas could only poke the ball back to the visitors, who played a couple of delightful passes to free up scrum-half Antoine Dupont. He spotted a gap in the line and took full advantage to dive over.
Racing fly-half Finn Russell then tried an ambitious chip over the Toulouse line but to no avail while advantage was being played for a Toulouse infringement. Play was brought back to where the offence took place and scrum-half Maxime Machenaud popped over the penalty to trim the gap.
Minutes later, Russell was back in the action, intercepting a pass from Zach Holmes, his opposite number, before executing a delightful chip, which Thomas gobbled up and sprinted over, followed by his trademark celebration.
Referee Luke Pearce then reduced Toulouse to 14 men by sending off Holmes after a high tackle, but that did not halt the visitors’ momentum.
This is rugby, but not as we know it 🤯
Amazing. Brilliant. Unreal. Extraordinary. Mind blowing. Incredible.
Arguably the try of the tournament 🙌 pic.twitter.com/lqvEmB7Zf6
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 31, 2019
Lucas Tauzin launched the move with a stunning offload to release Romain Ntamack. He shrugged off four tackles and found the clinical Maxime Medard, who raced over the try line to put Toulouse back in front.
They stormed further ahead soon afterwards when Dupont spotted a gap and grabbed his second try of the afternoon by the posts, putting Toulouse nine points clear at the interval.
Despite Racing 92 piling on the pressure, the hosts could only score six points in the opening 25 minutes of the second half through Machenaud, before Toulouse won a penalty of their own. That was successfully converted by Thomas Ramos, but the drama was far from over.
Believe the hype, Toulouse are BACK 👏🙌 pic.twitter.com/Ioi0GrfG0n
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 31, 2019
Toulouse pinched possession at a Racing line-out, but the ball fell to Racing hooker Camille Chat, who powered past Cheslin Kolbe to put the hosts within a point.
However, that was as close as Racing came, with Machenaud missing the touchline conversion with four minutes to play. Despite sustained pressure, Toulouse clung on for a famous victory.
They will travel to Dublin to face Leinster Rugby at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday, 21 April in their Heineken Champions Cup semi-final.