Racing return to Bordeaux for bonus win, Toulouse reach play-offs

Centre Henry Chavancy and the rest of the Racing team had the beating of the Bordeaux defense

Racing 92 added gloss to their recently-acquired play-off berth status in France's Top 14 with a bonus-point 39-15 victory at Bordeaux on Sunday.

Racing had already secured a top-six finish and a spot in the play-offs before a ball was kicked in anger 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 domestic title.

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 ever home Top 14 defeat.

Racing will be desperate to hang on to second and an automatic semi-final spot as the Champions Cup final against Leinster is in Bilbao on May 12, a week before the first round of the French playoffs.

Two-time World Cup winner Carter, playing his final season in France, finished with 14 points.

Argentine winger Juan Imhoff scored two tries and French winger Teddy Thomas was on the scoresheet again after two tries in the Champions Cup semi-final win last weekend.

Toulouse, who missed the play-offs for the first time in their 41-year history last season, made no mistake this time around when a nervy 19-14 win over La Rochelle made sure of their place in the top six.

Toulouse now have 74 points and are in third. They can still snatch second spot from Racing on the last weekend of the regular season and move directly into the semi-finals.

They were 16-6 ahead by the break on Sunday thanks to a try from Piula Faasalele on the half-hour mark with Thomas Ramos booting the remainder of the points in the first period.

But they endured a nervy second period when All Blacks flanker Victor Vito scored La Rochelle's only try on their way to cutting the gap to 11-16 before Ramos and Arthur Retiere exchanged 80th-minute penalties.

Toulouse ended the game with 14 men after replacement back-rower Gillian Galan was red-carded for striking Vito with his elbow.

"It's good to win this kind of match, it's a great result on paper," said Toulouse coach Ugo Mola.

"But by not taking a bonus point, it makes us a little less hopeful."

On Saturday, Montpellier sealed top spot in the table and a semi-final place 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.

Toulon ran eight tries past 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 heading into the final round of regular-season games.

Centre Henry Chavancy and the rest of the Racing team had the beating of the Bordeaux defense.