Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Wrap: Champions Cup semi-finals

European Wrap: Champions Cup semi-finals

European Wrap: Champions Cup semi-finals

We take a look back at the two Champions Cup semi-finals that took place over the course of the weekend. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Racing end Saracens’ title defence

A composed display from Racing 92 knocked defending champions Saracens out of the tournament in a thrilling 19-15 win. The French side, who will want to mark their third appearance in a Champions Cup final next month with a first-ever win, were buoyed in part by the performance of Finn Russell at No 10. The Scotsman produced a sparkling piece of skill with five-minutes to go, as his perfectly weighted chip over the incoming Sarries’ defence was collected by Virimi Vakatawa, who offloaded back to Russell, who floated the ball to Juan Imhoff to finally kill off the Londoners’ title hopes.

In what was an extremely tight contest, Racing took a 9-6 lead into the break following penalties to Teddy Iribaren and Alex Goode. The latter added three more after halftime, with Racing’s Maxi Machenaud also nailing a three-pointer, but Imhoff’s late try sealed the deal for the Parisians. It will be some time yet before we see Mark McCall’s side back on the European stage after their Premiership relegation, and this defeat will mark the end of an era for them.

Calculating Exeter break Toulouse down 

Exeter produced a typically abrasive and accurate showing to beat Toulouse 28-18 at Sandy Park. Playing in their first-ever European semi-final, 10 years after earning promotion to the Premiership, the Chiefs now have a chance to claim a first Champions Cup title in the decider against Racing 92 next month. Toulouse, for all their sparkling play, spearheaded by the exceptional Cheslin Kolbe, will need to refocus on their Top 14 quest as they continue their quest for what would be a record-breaking fifth European crown.

The French side dominated the opening exchanges and took an early 6-0 after putting on some classic offloading brilliance. Chiefs prop Harry Williams barged over to hit back for Rob Baxter’s men, before replacement Toulouse second-rower Alban Placines finished off in the corner. Crucially, though, Sam Simmonds muscled his way over just before the halftime hooter to make it 14-11. A second close-range effort from Williams put them well and truly in the ascendency before a classy score from Sam’s brother, Joe, all but secured the result. Matthis Lebel scored a great consolation late on for the men in red.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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