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Thomas double sends Racing into Champions Cup quarters

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Paris (AFP)

Winger Teddy Thomas scored twice as Racing 92 beat Munster 39-22 on Sunday to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup.

Thomas, who was named in France's Six Nations squad last week, dotted down either side of the half knocking the two-time winners out of the competition.

The French side are guaranteed a spot in the last eight as they lead Pool 4 on 22 points with title holders eight points behind ahead of hosting the French side next Sunday.

Munster are third in the group, 11 points behind Racing after Sunday's defeat.

JJ Hanrahan kicked three early penalties within the opening 18 minutes as the visitors dominated the early proceedings with intense work from their forwards before Teddy Iribaren closed the gap to six points with his first effort two minutes later.

Iribaren's moment of magic came on the half hour mark as he threw a 20 metre pass out of the back of his hand to set-up Teddy Thomas in the corner but the scrum-half missed the conversion.

He made up for his conversion error with a long-distance penalty before Andrew Conway's try seconds before the half-time whistle.

Racing attacked and captain Henry Chavancy attempted to find centre partner Virimi Vakatawa with a pass and an almost certain five-pointer but Conway picked the pass and sprinted in from 80 metres as the Irish side led 16-11 at the interval

Hanrahan added his fourth penalty goal either side of two further Iribaren kicks at goal and the Irish province led 19-17 with 25 minutes to play.

Iribaren, who missed out on selection in France's Six Nations squad last week, claimed a 20-19 lead with another three-pointer.

After pressure on the Racing line the visitors were awarded a penalty and Hanrahan slotted the kick from in front of the posts for a 22-20 lead to set up a tense final quarter of an hour.

Thomas claimed his second try of the match, and his 12th of the season, as he touched down with one hand inches from the dead-ball line after a lovely Finn Russell cross-kick.

Maxime Machenaud, on for Iribaren, missed the conversion and the hosts led 25-22 with seven minutes remaining.

Vakatawa, who was also named in les Bleus squad for the Six Nations, and Juan Imhoff made sure of the last eight spot with tries apiece.

Earlier, in Pool 1 Northampton Saints kept their slim hopes of reaching the last eight alive with a 33-20 victory over Treviso and four-time winners Leinster, who have already qualified, hammered Lyon 42-14 in Dublin.

On Saturday, Toulouse, Clermont and Exeter Chiefs clinched spots in the knockout stage while Ulster, Gloucester, Glasgow and Saracens can still reach the next round depending on their results next weekend.

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