Paris - Racing 92 defeated Clermont 34-33
in a French Top 14 semi-final extra-time thriller on Friday with All Blacks
superstar Dan Carter sealing victory with a conversion in the dying moments.
The two sides had been tied 27-27 at the
end of normal time with Clermont then nudging ahead 33-27 thanks to a
long-range penalty from Scott Spedding and a monster drop goal by Brock James.
But Clermont self-destructed when Georgian
flanker Viktor Kolelishvili was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Racing
prop Luc Ducalcon with seven minutes left.
Argentine winger Juan Imhoff then scored a
breakaway try for Racing with three minutes of the 20-minute extra-time period
to go and World Cup winner Carter showed nerves of steel to slot over the
Fritz Lee and Wesley Fofana had scored
tries for Clermont in normal time with Johan Goosen and Joe Rokocoko crossing
Toulon face Montpellier in the second
semi-final, also at Rennes, on Saturday with Racing awaiting the winners in the
final to be played at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium on June 25.
Camille Lopez popped over a fourth-minute
drop goal for Clermont before Carter levelled with a penalty having earlier
seen his first attempt come off the upright.
Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra then saw
his first penalty also hit the post before the game sprung into life after 20
French international centre Fofana burst
through three tackles to score what would have been the first try of the
semi-final. But his impressive slalom was ruled out for a forward pass.
Racing, who had defeated Clermont twice in
the regular season, then stretched to a 16-6 lead.
Carter hit two more penalties before Johan
Goosen pounced on a loose ball to score his seventh try of the season. Carter
added the extras.
Clermont cut the deficit to five points at
the break with a try on the stroke of half-time.
Spedding had just booted a huge penalty
from the halfway line before he then kicked for touch in the corner.
Clermont unleashed a mighty push from the
ensuing line-out with Lee the man on the bottom of the pile.
The league leaders were 17-16 ahead early
in the second-half before veteran All Blacks winger Rokocoko shrugged off his
32 years to sprint 25 metres to touch down for Racing.
Carter hit the conversion for 24-17 before
Lopex cut the lead back to 24-20.
All Blacks legend Carter then hit his fifth
successful kick of the semi-final to restore Racing's seven-point lead.
However, Fofana scored his team's second
try on the hour mark which was converted by Lopez, sending the match into