Paris (AFP) – Racing 92 added gloss to their recently-acquired playoff berth status in France’s Top 14 with a bonus-point 39-15 victory at Bordeaux on Sunday.
Racing were already secured a top six finish and a spot in the playoffs before a ball was kicked in anger on Sunday thanks to results elsewhere.
But barely a week after ousting Munster 27-22 at the same Chaban-Delmas stadium to reach the European Champions Cup final, the Parisians made sure their intentions remained clear in the race for the championship.
Former All Black Dan Carter gave Racing an early lead with two penalties and converted the first four tries.
Bordeaux, with nothing at stake and despite a pair of late touchdowns when the match was long lost, succumbed to their biggest home defeat in Top 14.
With one round to go, Racing also jumped up to second, which brings a bye in the first playoff round, although Toulouse could regain that spot by beating La Rochelle in the final game of the weekend later Sunday.
The European Champions Cup final, against Leinster, is in Bilbao on May 12, a week before the first round of the French playoffs. Second place in the Top 14 would give Racing a week’s rest instead.
On Saturday, Montpellier sealed top spot in the table and a bye to the semi-finals with a six-try 45-13 victory over Pau while three-time European champions Toulon wrapped up a play-off spot thanks to a 59-13 demolition of Castres.
Montpellier’s 17th win of the season came courtesy of a second-half five-try rampage after they were just 10-6 to the good at the interval.
It is only the second time in Montpellier’s history they have reached the semi-finals after their initial 2014 breakthrough.
“We are happy to be in the semi-finals, and after the match against Lyon next week we will have time to prepare for the semi-final, which gives us the opportunity to work together for three weeks,” said Montpellier coach Vern Cotter.
Toulon ran in eight tries in a 59-13 demolition of Castres to book their place in the play-offs for the seventh year running.
Lyon remain fifth after losing to Oyonnax 39-18 while Castres hang onto the sixth and final play-off spot.
Stade Francais defeated Brive 30-22 to confirm their defeated opponents’ relegation.
However, the Paris giants are not necessarily safe from a relegation play-off as Oyonnax’s win kept them three points behind Stade with just one round of regular-season games left to play.