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Stade Francais slip up as Perpignan keep Top 14 dream alive

Stade Francais' French number 8 Sekou Macalou grabs the ball during a French Top14 rugby union defeat at Castres (Matthieu RONDEL)
Stade Francais' French number 8 Sekou Macalou grabs the ball during a French Top14 rugby union defeat at Castres (Matthieu RONDEL)

Stade Français will have to wait until the final round of Top 14 games to secure an automatic semi-final berth after falling at Castres on Saturday.

The Parisians' 27-18 defeat means they failed to secure second spot with their fate going down to the wire against Toulon next weekend for a direct ticket to the semi-finals.

"We had a rather bad match, especially in discipline," said Stade Francais coach Laurent Labit.

"We gave too much ammunition to Castres. In fact we did everything in reverse."

Romain Briatte (18) and Peniasi Dakuwaqa (56) touched down for Stade Francais but Castres replied with tries from Pierre Popelin (32), Jeremey Fernandez (45) and Filipo Nakosi (61).

Fernandez converted two tries and also contributed two penalties.

Castres can still aspire to reaching the playoffs as they are eighth, tied on 58 points with Perpignan.

Perpignan won 37-30 at home against Bordeaux to keep their dream of reaching the playoffs alive.

Four tries including three in ten minutes from Tom Ecochard (23), Joaquín Oviedo (28) and Alistair Crossdale (33) ensure Perpignan can reach the playoffs on the final day with a win over Pau and if other results go their way.

Defeat means third-placed Bordeaux cannot finish second and will have to go through the playoffs.

Racing92 bounced back from three consecutive defeats with a 24-15 win over Pau in Auxerre, thanks to three tries, including one by hooker Camille Chat.

"It was essential for us that we win today after three weeks of hardship," said Chat.

"We can smile now, even if we still have a lot of work to do."

Stuart Lancaster's men moved up to provisional fifth before Sunday's two games, with their finale in La Rochelle in a week's time.

Bayonne and Lyon, remotely competing for a place among the top eight to participate in the Champions Cup, both lost.

Bayonne in 11th with 52 points fell 27-20 to Oyonnax, who were relegated on Saturday despite the win, while Lyon, 12th with 51 points lost 41-26 at Montpellier.

On Sunday, leaders Toulouse host La Rochelle with Toulon at home to Clermont.

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