Kolisi helps '100%' Racing into Champions Cup last 16

rugby20 January 2024 22:06| © Reuters

South Africa's double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi said Racing 92 are "100%" committed to the Champions Cup after scoring his first try for the club in a 48-26 victory over Cardiff which secured a place in the last 16 of the Champions Cup on Saturday.

The Parisians moved above Ulster to fourth in Pool 2, after the Irish province were hammered 47-19 by Harlequins earlier in the day, claiming a spot in the next round to be held in April.

Flanker Kolisi, 32, who joined Racing after lifting a second World Cup last October, crossed during the first-half on his eighth club appearance and was among seven try scorers for the French side, three-time Champions Cup runners-up.

"We haven't had a good competition, we've lost some games we could have won but today held our own," Kolisi told BeIn Sport after their first win in four Champions Cup matches this season.

"We are 100% in the Champions Cup, even though things didn't go our way we knew it was in our hands today, so we gave it everything," he added after finishing the win as Racing captain.

A youthful Cardiff surprisingly led 7-3 after just 10 minutes as Wales prop Rhys Carre crashed over before Racing took control of the tie.

No 8 Kitione Kamikamica went over in the corner before scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec, included in France's Six Nations squad, set-up Kolisi five metres out for the try.

Back-rower Kolisi then turned the provider setting-up centre Inia Tabuavou before Wales scrumhalf Tomos Williams cut the deficit and the hosts led 20-12 at the break.

Victory was clinched with half an hour to play as Kolisi's compatriot, fullback Tristan Tedder and wingers Christian Wade and Juan Imhoff scored to make it 41-12.

Despite having less than a quarter of Racing's budget this season, Cardiff refused to go out of the competition with a whimper as half-back Williams claimed his second try with 15 minutes to play.

Flyhalf Tinus De Beer then broke free to clinch a deserved bonus point for the Welsh club with nine minutes remaining before replacement hooker Jannick Tarrit made sure of the rout for the home side with a late try.

Elsewhere, four-time winners Leinster claimed a home tie in the next round, beating Leicester 27-10 to maintain their unbeaten record in the pool stage.

Northampton made a statement with a 26-23 victory at Munster as they made it four wins from four in the tournament.

Flyhalf Fin Smith, 21, celebrated a call-up to England's Six Nations squad with a superb performance for Saints at Thomond Park.

Three-time winners Saracens also reached the last 16, beating already-qualified Lyon 29-24 despite trailing by 12 points at half-time.

Saracens' England captain Owen Farrell, who is taking a break from test rugby during the upcoming Six Nations, became the Champions Cup's second highest points scorer on 874, leapfrogging ex-Wales flyhalf Stephen Jones.

He is now behind only former Ireland stand-off Ronan O'Gara on 1,365 points.

Sunday's highlight is holders La Rochelle's trip to Sale.

The French club, coached by O'Gara, need a win to guarantee their progress.

Record five-time winners Toulouse play Bath at a sold-out Stade Ernest-Wallon in a clash between two teams who have already made the last 16.