Paris, France (4E Sports) – Rory Kockott recorded 17 points as defending champion Castres ended Clermont’s incredible 77-game unbeaten run at Stade Marcel Michelin via a 22-16 win in Saturday’s French 14 showdown.
With the win, Castres booked a spot in the semifinals where it will face Montpellier.
Clermont entered the game with that record-breaking run of wins at its own turf but Vern Cotter will now leave the club without having won any silverware in his final season.
In a nervy first-half, Kockott and Brock James exchanged penalties as the teams went into the break locked at 9-9.
However, it was Castres who started the second 40 the better of the two teams with Kockott slotting two penalties in quick succession.
They had further joy when Remi Lamerat crashed over from close range as Clermont struggled with 14 men after Gerhard Vosloo was booted out of the game.
In the other match, Racing Metro will play in the French Top 14 semifinals for the first time after Jonathan Sexton kicked seven penalties from seven attempts to give them a 21-16 victory over Toulouse in the Stade Ernest Wallon.
Toulouse winger Hosea Gear scored the only try of the game, three minutes after half-time, but Racing’s pack dominated the set-pieces throughout to secure possession and penalty attempts for Sexton.
“We were saying that we felt a little cursed in the play-offs. These last four years we had made the play-offs but had not won a game,” Racing centre Henry Chavancy said.
The result ended Toulouse’s proud run of 20 successive semifinal appearances. Racing Metro will now face Toulon in the final four.