Cardiff Blues qualified for the Heineken Cup play offs after they beat Racing Metro 36-30 at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday.
Cardiff fell one short of the four tries which would have given them a bonus point and top spot rather than one of the two best runners-up spots which sees them travel to holders Leinster.
The Blues scored the first try of the match in the seventh minute as scrum-half Lloyd Williams charged down Springbok World Cup winning centre Francois Steyn's kick inside his 22 and touched down -Leigh Halfpenny converted to make it 7-3.
However, Racing-Metro kicker Jonathan Wisniewski reduced the deficit to a point with his second penalty but Halfpenny edged the hosts further ahead with a penalty of his own.
Steyn, though, redeemed himself when he played a big part in Racing's first try which saw Josh Matavesi go over in the right hand corner but Sebastien Descons was unable to convert though he added a penalty shortly afterwards to make it 14-10.
Halfpenny reduced the deficit to a point with a penalty in the 26th minute and the Blues were back in front when Alex Cuthbert ran in their second try - set up and converted by Halfpenny.
It was thrilling stuff as Racing stormed back with a piercing run from Fabrice Estebanez cutting through the hosts' defence and from the resulting ball veteran Sireli Bobo forcing his way over - Descons converted for 21-20.
Halfpenny restored the hosts' lead with a penalty but Steyn landed one of his trademark long distance penalties on the stroke of half-time to leave Cardiff struggling to make the last eight.
Whatever was said at half-time worked instant magic for Cardiff as Cuthbert seized on a loose ball after Matavesi made a complete hash of collecting a Dan Parks up and under and he touched down in the right hand corner.
Halfpenny converted brilliantly to see them lead 30-24.
Descons and Halfpenny exchanged penalties and then Steyn landed a penalty from over 50 metres out to see the visitors trail by just three points going into the last 20 minutes.
Halfpenny, though, added yet another three points to give them the breathing space they needed.
Final Score Cardiff Blues 36 (23) Racing Metro 30 (24)
Tries: Williams, Cuthbert 2
Penalties: Halfpenny 5
Conversions: Halfpenny 3
Racing Metro 92
Tries: Matavesi, Bobo
Penalties: Wisniewski 2, Descons 2, Steyn 2
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Cardiff Blues: L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, C Laulala, G Evans, C Czekaj; D Parks, L Williams; G Jenkins, T Thomas, S Andrews, B Davies, P Tito [capt], M Paterson, S Warburton, X Rush
Replacements: R Tyrrell, J Yapp, S Hobbs, M Molitika, J Navidi, R Rees, C Sweeney, T James
Racing Metro 92: J Matavesi; H Chavancy, F Steyn, F Estebanez, S Bobo; J Wisniewski, S Descons; M Tuugahala, B Noirot, B Sa, K Ghezal, F van der Merwe, J Leo'o, A Batut, S Chabal
Replacements: G Arganese, E Ben Arous, J Orlandi, J Nailiko, M Loree, J Imhoff, R Vaquiin, J Cronje