Bordeaux-Begles battle into first Top 14 semi-final

·1-min read
Bordeaux-Begles players celebrated their victory over Clermont

Bordeaux-Begles qualified for the semi-finals of the Top 14 for the first time in their history by beating Clermont 25-16 on Saturday in the first round of the play-offs.

Their reward is a trip to Toulouse, who topped the regular season standings and eliminated Bordeaux-Begles in the semi-finals on the way to winning the European Champions Cup.

The other semi-final will pit La Rochelle against Racing 92, who beat Stade Francais in a Parisian derby on Friday.

Clermont dominated from the start and took the lead after eight minutes with a try by winger Damian Penaud. Scrum-half Morgan Parra converted.

After that, the visitors struggled to break through, while Bordeaux-Begles made the most of their chances.

After an early miss, Matthieu Jalibert kicked two penalties. The home fly-half then converted for a 13-7 lead after hooker Clement Maynadier crashed over following a lineout for a try just before half-time.

"We dominated the first 25 minutes but we didn't score," said Clermont fly-half Camille Lopez. "It's a finals match, it's details, we missed details."

The second half was a battle of penalty kicks. Parra booted three for Clermont and twice closed the gap to three points, but he was outdone by Jalibert who kicked four more.

Bordeaux-Begles have won a Top14 championship playoff game for the first time since they were founded in 2006, though the club is the product of a merger between two teams who between them had won seven French titles.