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Simon Zebo scores late winning try in the snow for Racing against Clermont

The Cork man gathered Finn Russell’s cross-field kick to seal the victory.

SIMON ZEBO SCORED a late winning try for Racing 92 away to Clermont in freezing conditions in their Top 14 clash last night.

The ex-Ireland and Munster fullback gathered Finn Russell’s cross-field kick and beat a defender to score in the right corner, handing Racing a precious 24-22 victory that keeps them three points off the league leaders, Ronan O’Gara and Jono Gibbes’ La Rochelle.

SZebo

With snow falling throughout the contest, Racing had trailed 19-9 early in the second half at Stade Marcel Michelin, where Munster won three weekends ago, but a converted try from Baptiste Chouzenoux brought them back within touching distance before an exchange of successful penalty shots at goal.

The stage was set for late drama and Racing duly delivered as Argentina wing Juan Imhoff and 18-year-old replacement scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec broke down the left before Russell calmly fired his kick wide to Zebo on the right.

The Cork man skillfully caught the ball overhead and spun out of Jean-Pascal Barraque’s despairing tackle to finish gleefully and it proved to be the winning score as Racing held out for the closing five minutes.

It was a very pleasing outcome for Racing attack coach Mike Prendergast in what had been a stop-start encounter in the cold conditions and the Parisians remain third in the Top 14, just a point behind Toulouse and three off La Rochelle.

Next up for Prendergast and co. – who were missing Donnacha Ryan yesterday – is a huge home clash against O’Gara’s men this Saturday. 

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Elsewhere yesterday, Jeremy Davidson’s Brive suffered a 51-21 defeat away to Stade Français as they remained in ninth position.

On Saturday, former Leinster man Noel Reid came off the bench for Agen in their 43-13 defeat at home to La Rochelle. It was Reid’s fifth appearance for the club since joining from Leicester Tigers.

Pau’s scheduled fixture against Bayonne last weekend was postponed but two weeks ago, their dramatic win against Stade Français saw 21-year-old Cork man Eoghan Barrett make his Top 14 debut on the right wing.

Former Ireland U19 international Barrett joined the French club after finishing school at Christian Brothers College, Cork in 2018 and he had already featured for Pau in the Challenge Cup, recently scoring a try against Worcester.

Barrett’s Top 14 debut was the latest step in his burgeoning professional career. 

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Murray Kinsella

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