Jerome Kaino's Toulouse to face former Hurricanes wing Ben Lam in French rugby semis

All Blacks great Jerome Kaino – aiming to end his career with another French rugby title – will face former Hurricanes wing Ben Lam and ex-Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna in the Top 14 semifinals.

Lam started on the left wing in Bordeaux-Bègles’ 25-16 quarterfinals victory over Clermont on Sunday (Monday NZ time), with Tameifuna adding his burly frame from the bench.

They will visit round-robin winners Toulouse on Sunday (Monday NZ time), having qualified for the semifinals for the first time since the club was formed in 2006 after the merger of two long-standing Bordeaux clubs.

No side from Bordeaux have won a French championship since Bègles triumphed in 1991, captained by current French Rugby Federation president and former national team coach Bernard Laporte.

It will take a formidable effort, however, to topple Toulouse, who boast Kaino, ex-All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina, South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe and French stars Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack and Julien Marchand.

Toulouse are seeking to become the first team since Toulon in 2014 to win the European Champions Cup and French Top 14 titles in the same season.

Meanwhile, new Hurricanes signing Dominic Bird will be up against La Rochelle’s former Canes Victor Vito and Ihaia West in the other semifinal on Saturday (Sunday NZ time) in La Rochelle.

La Rochelle – second in the regular season standings and beaten European Champions Cup finalists – have four New Zealanders, Vito, West, ex-All Blacks halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Timaru-born French test tighthead prop Uini Atonio.

Clermont’s loss to Bordeaux-Bègles ended the season for their former All Blacks midfielder George Moala and ex-Chiefs outside back Tim Nanai-Williams.

France test wing Damien Penaud scored an early try for Clermont, but six penalties to Mathieu Jalibert and a late first half try to Clement Maynadier sealed Bordeaux-Bègles final-four place.