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Cards and scraps a plenty as Racing 92 beat local rivals Stade

By PA
Tempers flair in Paris - Credit BT Sport

Racing 92 set up a Champions Cup quarter-final against Sale as they came from behind to beat Stade Francais 33-22 on Sunday.

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The victory gave the hosts a 55-31 aggregate win, but they had to come from behind to make sure of it, with the visitors 22-13 up at half-time to close the deficit to three after Racing’s 22-9 triumph in last week’s first leg.

Stade Francais had come out determined to undo last week’s damage, scoring early tries through Telusa Veainu and Adrien Lapegue to take a 15-3 lead, but a 35th-minute red card for Sefa Naivalu changed the equation.

Wenceslas Lauret pulled one back for Racing before Lapegue responded, but a second-half brace from Teddy Thomas, and a second for Lauret, sealed the win.

It was a red-blooded contest between the two Parsian side, with more than its fair share of off-the-ball incidents. One scrap in the 52nd minute after a  challenge after the whistle saw the majority of players from either side bail into an all-in-tussle.

additional reporting PA

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Jon 9 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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