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Georgia's Aprasidze sends Montpellier to Top 14 final

Montpellier will now meet Castres in next week’s final.

Image: PA

GEORGIA’S GELA APRASIDZE kicked two late long-range penalties to take Montpellier to next weekend’s Top 14 final with a 19-10 win over Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday.

Scrum-half Aprasdize’s contribution came in the final 11 minutes and his club will meet Castres, who beat champions Toulouse 24 hours earlier, next Friday at the Stade de France.

Montpellier head coach Philippe Saint-Andre handed France three-quarter Arthur Vincent his first start since October after he recovered from a serious knee injury.

Argentina forward Guido Petti returned to Bordeaux-Begles’ side following a knee injury sustained against Perpignan on June 5.

The game started at a gallop as the sides were level 10-10 by the 30 degrees celsius-enforced water break after 20 minutes.

Maxime Lucu kicked a penalty for Bordeaux-Begles before Vincent Rattez crossed in the corner for Montpellier from a Paolo Garbisi assist before the Italy fly-half slotted a clinical drop goal.

Lucu brought the sides level as half-back partner Matthieu Jalibert crossed after a 30 metre break.

Saint-Andre’s outfit led at the break as full-back Anthony Bouthier repeated Garbisi’s efforts with a drop goal just before the break.

Aprasidze, 24, broke the deadlock of a tense second half with an 69th minute penalty from more than 50 metres to make it 16-10 forcing Bordeaux-Begles to score a converted try to claim a place in their first final.

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Despite their efforts Aprasidze, who came on for Benoit Paillague for the closing quarter of an hour, slotted a 78th minute penalty from five metres closer than his earlier effort to clinch his side’s place in next week’s showpiece event in Paris.

With defeat, Bordeaux-Begles former France internationals Louis Picamoles and Francois Trinh-Duc played the last games of their careers.

Despite reaching next weekend’s final the France players involved will be omitted from next month’s tour of Japan with the first Test in Toyota on July 2.

Aprasidze’s Georgia face an Argentina invitational side as well as Italy and Portugal in matches next month.

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