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Tambwe double sends Bordeaux-Begles into Top 14 semis

Matthieu Jalibert scores the opening try of the game

Matthieu Jalibert scores the opening try of the game

Congolese winger Madosh Tambwe scored twice as Bordeaux-Begles beat Lyon 32-25 on Sunday to seal a place in next weekend’s French Top 14 semi-finals in a game played without a television match official (TMO).

Tambwe took his tally for the campaign to nine tries after joining from the Bulls in Pretoria this season.

The 26-year-old crossed twice in the second half to help Bordeaux-Begles book a tie with Champions Cup holders La Rochelle in San Sebastian next Saturday.

“Madosh is a great player, he arrived and shone quickly before a tough first winter in France where he discovered the harshness of the Top 14 in winter,” back-rower Mahamadou Diaby told reporters.

“Tonight he came along at the right time.”

In the other semi-final, record 21-time champions Toulouse will play Racing 92 on Friday after they beat Stade Francais 33-20 in a Parisian derby.

Before kick-off in balmy conditions in Lyon, host broadcaster Canal+ said there would be no TMO during the match because of a technical issue linked to the TV truck.

The first controversy due to the problem came after six minutes as Matthieu Jalibert crossed for Bordeaux-Begles and referee Ludovic Cayre awarded the try despite television footage showing a knock-on from the fly-half.

The home side responded to lead 17-8 at the break as France winger Ethan Dumortier and Fiji center Josua Tuisova responded to Jalibert’s early effort.

With half an hour to play there were just two points between the sides as Jalibert converted Diaby’s try to make it 17-15.

Diaby’s touchline effort was whistled by the home fans as the flanker seemed to lose control of the ball.

Tuisova hobbled off the field due to a knee issue with a quarter of an hour remaining before Tambwe and Lyon center Josiah Maraku crossed to leave the score 25-25 with five minutes left.

Tambwe’s crucial intervention came with two minutes to go as he galloped 50 meters to score from a set-piece move and Jalibert added the conversion as Bordeaux-Begles secured a last-four spot with just their third away win of the season.

On Saturday, Perpignan avoided relegation for a second straight season by beating Grenoble 33-19 in a play-off at a sold-out Stade des Alpes.