Montpellier humiliate Racing to go second in Top 14

Montpellier's players celebrate after winning the French Top 14 rugby union match between Montpellier and Racing 92 on April 22, 2017 at the Altrad Stadium in Montpellier, southern France

Montpellier ran in eight tries to move second in the French Top 14 with a humiliating 54-3 defeat of reigning champions Racing 92 on Saturday.

Jake White's side are now one point ahead of third-placed Clermont with two games to play as they target direct qualification for the Top 14 semi-finals next month.

Leaders La Rochelle are nine points ahead of Montpellier with the top two going head to head next weekend.

The match was rescheduled after the players' strike over the now abandoned merger plan between Paris rivals Racing and Stade Francais.

And Montpellier president Mohed Altrad said he felt that justice had been done for his team and Castres who beat Stade Francais 33-10 in their rescheduled game midweek.

"We endured this affair as an injustice," said the billionaire Syrian-born French businessman. "Justice has today been done for Castres and Montpellier."

It was a fall back to earth for Racing who suffered their first defeat since the controversy.

"We were affected by this postponed match and the merger," said Racing 92 backs coach Laurent Labit whose side remain in the running for the play-offs as they sit sixth.

"We have two matches left against Stade Français and Bordeaux. If we win these we'll qualify (for the play-offs)."

And he added that he hoped the humiliation would act as a spur as last year's 60-7 defeat at Montpellier had in their title challenge.

"Last year we received a big whipping at Montpellier (60-7) and that didn't prevent us from finishing the season well," said Labit.

"It was for the best and we hope that it will be the same for the next five matches."

Montpellier continued the punishment they inflicted on now relegated pair Grenoble (54-14) and Bayonne (61-22) during their last two matches.

White's troops were in total command throughout assuring a bonus point after just 17 minutes.

Fijian wing Nemani Nadolo resisted two tackles to touch down on four minutes, and then helped centre Kélian Galletier (8) and South African hooker Bismarck Du Plessis (17) score two more tries.

The hosts defence was solid despite Nadolo's temporary sin binning with Racing's only points from a Dan Carter penalty on 14 minutes at the Altrad Stadium.

After the break it was all one-way traffic with five more tries including a quickfire double from Montpellier's new South African fly-half Willie Du Plessis.