Scotland outcast Finn Russell was the toast of Paris on Saturday after his late-game heroics created the decisive try from Juan Imhoff that booked Racing 92 their place in next month’s Champions Cup final. 

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The out-half had a very public falling out with Gregor Townsend last January after he showed up at the Scottish Six Nations camp on the Sunday night of a pool win by Saracens against Racing in London. 

That result kept the Londoners in the tournament but Russell eventually turned the tables with some magic in the 76th minute of the semi-final. Racing were trailing 12-15 when they attacked off possession that stemmed from a ruck on their own 10-metre line.   

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Russell’s sweet chip kick over the top of the Saracens defence was gathered by Virimi Vakatawa and the out-half appeared on the midfield’s shoulder to take the offloaded pass and he then drew the cover before allowing Imhoff round off the move for the converted try that won the game 19-15.   

BT Sport match commentary Nick Mullins was blown away by the magic that had unfolded, saying: “That just might be one of the greatest moments in Racing’s history. It might be the moment that knocks the champions out of the Cup.”

Live match pundit Ben Kay, the 2003 England World Cup winner, added: “We have been mentioning the threat of Russell’s little chip kick over the top to slow the Saracens linespeed. He has used it sparingly. 

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“He hasn’t used it since right at the beginning of the game and that maybe lulled Saracens into a false sense of security. It’s already pre-called. You can see Vakatawa on his bike as the ball is in the air to Russell pre the kick – he knows it’s coming. 

“Russell follows Vakatawa down the channel and it’s just a simple offload, he fends out of Wigglesworth’s tackle. That takes (Alex) Goode out and Russell thinks I’ll give it to the pace on the outside. Nothing (Elliot) Daly can do. Absolutely stunning score. Saracens now have to go to some dark places to find the answers.”

They didn’t, the Russell moment of genius instead proving decisive to qualify Racing for their third final in five seasons.   

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