Porto (Portugal) (AFP)
Toulouse, the new European champion, took a big step forward towards the Top 14 semi-finals with a 36-27 victory over Clermont on Saturday.
The trials of Selevasio Tolofua, Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack and five penalties were decisive for Toulouse.
Clermont scored four tries thanks to Damian Penaud, Etienne Fourcade, Sipili Falatea and Peceli Yato but was powerless to prevent Toulouse from withdrawing in the finals in southwest France.
With only one regular-season weekend to go, Toulouse retain first place in the standings but are tied at 77 points with La Rochelle, the team they beat in the European Cup final at Twickenham last week. .
La Rochelle bounced back from the loss to beat Pau 51-27 earlier on Saturday.
Toulouse defense coach Laurent Thuery said: “If you had told me before the game that we would get four points against Clermont a week after winning the European Cup, I would have taken it. “
Toulouse will travel to Bordeaux-Bègles on Saturday for their last match of the regular season.
“We’re going to need a great performance to get the point we need to book a semi-final, and we don’t want to rely on anyone else,” Thuery said.
In Friday action, Joris Segonds scored 26 points to help Stade Français to a 46-27 win over Lyon to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Stade’s fifth consecutive victory in the Top 14 leaves the capital club in seventh place, tied for 66 points with Toulon in the battle for the last place in the play-offs which goes to the sixth team.
Bordeaux-Bègles is fourth and secured a place in the playoffs despite a 25-19 defeat at Toulon.
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