Samoa’s Seuteni guides Bordeaux-Begles to Top 14 semis
Samoa centre UJ Seuteni scored a try and set-up another to send Bordeaux-Begles into next weekend’s French Top 14 semi-finals after Sunday’s 36-16 home play-off win over Racing 92.
Seuteni’s key interventions came in the second-half as he crossed for his joint-leading 11th league try of the season before he assisted Romain Buros.
Bordeaux-Begles will face Montpellier in next Sunday’s last four, 24 hours after regular season table-toppers Castres play local rivals Toulouse, with both games in Nice.
After last weekend’s defeat at Perpignan, which denied their automatic place in the semi-finals, Bordeaux-Begles’ outspoken head coach Christophe Urios slammed many of his main players including France pair Matthieu Jalibert and Cameron Woki.
“It was really tense in the week, the leaders stepped up and the best response we could give was what we did tonight,” fly-half Jalibert told Canal+.
“You saw the quotes from our manager in the press, I just wanted to say we don’t play for Christophe, we’re on a mission for the players,” he added.
Urios, who joined Bordeaux-Begles from Castres a year after taking them to the Top 14, then responded.
“It wasn’t easy, as I took a risk, I did from my heart, we had to wake up, to revolt,” he told Canal+.
“When you have great players, they have to play well, that’s how you win titles.
“The players and leaders put their hands up today, it’s their success, not ours (the coaches),” he added.
At Stade Chaban-Delmas, the scores were level after 20 minutes as the hosts’ France scrum-half Maxime Lucu and Racing’s youngster Nolann Le Garrec traded penalties after kick-off had been delayed for a little under a quarter of an hour due to an issue with the referee’s microphone.
– Woki’s Urios celebration –
The Parisians, 2016 champions, led 10-8 at the break as Max Spring’s try, converted by 20-year-old Le Garrec, came in response to Argentina winger Santiago Cordero’s effort for Urios’ side.
Le Garrec kicked another penalty to make it 13-8 on 43 minutes before the home side took firm hold of the fixture with three tries in the space of 11 minutes.
Seuteni, 28, scored after a Yoram Moefana break, then provided the final touch for Buros.
Les Bleus back-rower Cameron Woki then galloped over and celebrated with a finger over his mouth appearing to quieten Urios’ criticism, with a little over a quarter of the game to play.
Bordeaux-Begles comfortably led 29-16 and with the 30,000-strong Chaban-Delmas crowd delirious former New Zealand Sevens winger Ben Lam made sure of their place in the semi with a 79th effort.
Earlier, France full-back Melvyn Jaminet scored 26 points to keep Perpignan in the Top 14 as the Catalans beat second-tier Mont-de-Marsan 41-16 in a play-off.
Jaminet’s club became the first top-flight side to win the fixture since it was introduced in 2018 before the Test goal-kicker joins French champions Toulouse next season.