Racing rally for derby win to tighten grip on second in Top 14

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Paris (AFP)

France exile Teddy Thomas scored two second half tries as Racing 92 fought back to beat local rival Stade Francais 28-22 at the U Arena on Saturday.

While Racing has been up among the pacesetters in Top 14 this season, Stade have been sliding towards the relegation places.

Yet in the first half, Racing, crushed by leaders Montpellier last week, again looked shaky in the first half.

Boris Palu put the home team ahead after 15 minutes but Jimmy Yobo and Marvin O'Connor replied to put Racing ahead by the break.

Racing made eight changes early in the second half and took control with two tries in four minutes by Thomas, who was dropped by France after a night out following a Six Nations loss in Edinburgh.

The winger slashed through for the first try and raced on to a chip kick to score the second. As the Stade tackling evaporated, Marc Andreu skipped past half the defense to score a fourth try.

Racing could not add another try for a bonus point and Racing squandered their chance for an extra when Morne Steyn failed to convert Baptiste Lafond's last-minute try.

The victory tightened Racing's grip on second place and closed Montpellier's lead to four points ahead of their trip to Toulouse on Saturday.