Racing-Exeter European final after late Imhoff try, Simmonds' points

Paris (AFP) –


Racing 92's Juan Imhoff scored a 75th minute try and Exeter Chiefs' Joe Simmonds claimed 13 points on Saturday to set up a European Champions Cup final next month when a new name will be engraved on the trophy.

Argentina winger Imhoff dived over after a delicate Finn Russell chip and Virimi Vakatawa's powerful break in the 19-15 victory over Saracens at the Paris La Defense Arena to send his side into a third European final in four years.

"You have artists like Finn Russell and Virimi Vakatawa who can do something in a second. I did nothing. Just helped my team-mates and made the most of my team-mates' ability," Imhoff said.

"It's now 80 minutes, anything can happen. We're where want to be."

Fly-half Simmonds kicked four conversions and crossed for a touchdown in a 28-18 win at home against record four-time champions Toulouse to take the Chiefs into their first ever final, to be held on October 17 at Bristol's Ashton Gate stadium.

"It hasn't sunk in properly yet but credit to everyone involved in this club," Simmonds said.

"We've worked so hard for this opportunity and to have a semi-final like that and to beat a real powerhouse in Toulouse with just a team performance is something to proud of.

"We've got a job to do when we get to the final," he added.

In the French capital, the hosts led 9-6 at the break as Racing's Teddy Iribaren and Alex Goode for Sarries, relegated from the English Premiership for breaching the salary cap, traded penalty goals.

Goode, deputising for banned England captain Owen Farrell at fly-half, slotted two further three-pointers before the Parisians' comeback.

Iribaren's replacement Maxime Machenaud kicked a 69th minute penalty before Imhoff crossed with less five minutes to play to book a spot in the final for the side backed by businessman Jacky Lorenzetti.

- Slick Simmonds -

At Sandy Park, the French outfit led 6-0 before Chiefs prop Harry Williams scored from a pick-and-go on the 30-minute mark and Simmonds kicked the first of his four conversions.

The home side had a 14-11 advantage at the interval as Simmonds' older brother, Sam, responded with a converted try after Albert Placines went over in the corner.

Simmonds junior then claimed his side's third showing his ability with ball in hand to dummy a pass and make a break before Williams claimed his double and a spot in the final for the Chiefs, owned by millionaire Tony Rowe.

Matthis Lebel scored a consolation effort for the 2019 Top 14 champions who fall at the last-four hurdle for a second straight season.