Brive turned around a 13-point defecit to edge out Saracens and progress to the European Challenge semi-finals after a nailbiting extra time win.

In the last minute of regulation time a nerveless sideline conversion from Valentin Courrent in the 85th minute took Brive to a 26-13 win, levelling the overall scores and prompting two 10-minute
halves of extra time.

Brive flanker Alexandre Maleyrie scored the crucial try in the first half of extra time, and the home side thwarted a late surge from Saracens, with winger Richard Haughton being held up over the line in the final minute of the match – 135 minutes after it kicked off.

Brive play fellow French side Pau in the Cup semi-finals.

Fly-half Alain Penaud scored the game’s opening try after a powerful rolling maul from the home pack and Julien Laharrague’s conversion gave Brive a 7-0 lead in as many minutes. Nicky Little and Laharrague traded penalty goals to give Brive a 10-3 lead at the break.

Laharrague slotted a dropped goal after some more good work from his pack, but Little’s second penalty goal kept the visitors’ noses in front on aggregate before former All Black skipper Taine Randell put Saracens in the box seat for semi-final qualification.

Randell latched on to a Penaud 22m drop-out and ran through some poor defence to score under the posts. Little’s conversion levelled the scores at 13-all.

Laharrague kicked a second penalty goal after Saracens lock Simon Raiwalui and Brive centre Ludovic Valbon were sin-binned for trading punches, and Little picked up the game’s third yellow card for a high tackle.

Another Laharrague goal in the 78th minute set up a tense finale, with Brive trailing by seven points overall, and the home crowd erupted when winger Yves Donguy scored in the corner in the 85th minute.

Replacement goal-kicker Courrent held his nerve and slotted the extras to level the scores on aggregate and force the match into extra time.

Maleyrie was shoved over the try-line under the posts, but Courrent went from hero to zero by missing the simple conversion. Little made no mistake with his third penalty goal and Saracens went into the extra-time halftime break trailing 31-16 and by two points overall.

They camped on the Brive try-line in the final moments but couldn’t get the score that would have given them a berth in the semi-finals.