Racing 92 and Union Bordeaux-Bègles, who will be competing in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup, both progressed to the TOP 14 semi-finals at the weekend.
The French top-flight’s play-offs saw the duo travel to two other teams set to be in contention for EPCR’s top prize in 2023/24, in Stade Français Paris and Lyon respectively.
Racing overcame Stade Français 33-20 on Saturday as Juan Imhoff, Wenceslas Lauret and Gaël Fickou crossed, with Finn Russell adding 14 points from the tee.
Stade Français, who return to the Heineken Champions Cup next season after a campaign in the EPCR Challenge Cup, dotted down through Sekou Macalou and forced a penalty try despite seeing Marcos Kremer sent off early on.
On Sunday, Bordeaux recovered from 11 points down at half-time to beat Lyon 32-25, Matthieu Jalibert contributing 14 points for the visitors courtesy of a try, three conversions and a penalty. A Madosh Tambwe try brace and a Mahamadou Diaby score also helped Bordeaux’s cause.
Lyon crossed three times, through Ethan Dumortier, Josua Tuisova and Josiah Maraku, and Lima Sopoaga kicked 10 points to see them level at 25-25 with five minutes to go, but Tambwe’s second effort snatched victory for Bordeaux.
Huge clashes await in the semi-finals as Racing visit five-time EPCR champions Stade Toulousain on Friday and Bordeaux head to La Rochelle, who are fresh from securing a second successive Heineken Champions Cup title, on Saturday.