Zebo on the mark as Racing set up semi against O'Gara's La Rochelle

Munster old boys face off in Lille on Friday
Zebo on the mark as Racing set up semi against O'Gara's La Rochelle

ROG REUNION: Racing's Simon Zebo crosses for their fourth try en route to a Top 14 play-off win over Paris rivals Stade. Racing will face La Rochelle in the semi-final on Friday night.

LILLE will play host to a Munster reunion on Friday night as La Rochelle and Racing 92 square off for a place in the French Top 14 final.

Ronan O’Gara’s side will meet a Racing side that may feature the departing Simon Zebo and Donnacha Ryan, the former heading back to Munster. Ryan is set to hook up with O’Gara next season as a coach at La Rochelle.

Racing eased to a ‘barrage’ victory over Paris rivals Stade Francais 38-21, with Zebo grabbing the fourth try before half-time, with Stade down to 13 men with Sefa Naivalu and Paul Alo-Emile in the sin bin.

An embarrassing defeat for the visitors was on the cards when Hassane Kolingar scored Racing's fifth try and Machenaud's resulting conversion made it 35-0 less than four minutes after the interval.

But Stade fought back to set up a competitive climax to the contest, with tries from Naivalu, Sekou Macalou and Waisea Nayacalevu, all converted by Joris Segonds.

Table-toppers Toulouse, who beat La Rochelle in the European Champions Cup final, will face either Bordeaux-Begles in the second semi-final on Saturday.

Meanwhile, newly promoted Biarritz could be in trouble with local officials for breaches of French Covid-19 rules during a tension-fuelled promotion play-off against Basque Country neighbours Bayonne on Saturday.

Authorities were not impressed with Biarritz’s crowd control in the age of Covid-19. Under current French rules, the limit on crowds in open-air stadiums is set at 65% of capacity, up to a maximum of 5,000. The Prefecture insisted that the 5,000 limit at the 13,400-capacity stadium had ‘obviously been exceeded’, and said it was aware of other possible breaches of health rules.

Biarritz won on penalties, after the two sides could not be separated in normal or extra time at the end of a hard-fought, blood-and-thunder winner-takes-all encounter at Parc des Sports Aguilera.

Club president Jean-Baptiste Aldigé was photographed celebrating with fans immediately after the final whistle.

Play offs: Racing 92 38 Stade Francais 21, Bordeaux Begles 25 Clermont Auvergne 16.

Semi-finals - Friday (7.45): La Rochelle v Racing 92; Sat (7.45): Toulouse v Bordeaux Begles.

Final: June 25

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