Clermont qualify for Heineken Cup Semi-finals

Clermont Auvergne booked a place in the Heineken Cup Semi-finals when they beat Montpellier 36-14 at Stade Marcel Michelin.

The French giants were irrepressible at Stade Marcel Michelin with Sitiveni
Sivivatu and Wesley Fofana running riot.

Montpellier made the better start but Clermont soon found their stride and
they entered half-time leading 15-9 thanks to Fofana and Aurelien Rougerie tries.

Sivivatu claimed his side’s third touchdown in the second half before Lee Byrne
put the result beyond doubt and Napolioni Nalaga struck at the death.

Clermont were knocked out at semi-finals, by eventual winners Leinster, last
season but they will be one of the favourites to lift the biggest prize in European
club rugby following another devastating display.

They face the winners Sunday’s clash between Harlequins and Munster, with the
last four tie to be held on April 27.

Montpellier opened the scoring on five minutes at Stade Marcel Michelin with
Paillaugue dissecting the posts after Benjamin Kayser was penalised for blocking.

They continued to pile the pressure on the hosts and the scrum-half added a
second penalty on 12 minutes.

Clermont had a promising opportunity to attack with a scrum in Montpellier’s
twenty-two but the visitors decimated the set-piece and stole possession.

Alex Tulou broke and he linked with Thomas Combezou, who fed Timoci Nagusa.
The wing was hauled down but Montpellier were handed a penalty.

Paillaugue was unable to stretch his side’s lead but the dominance at the scrum
struck a huge mental blow to the hosts.

Parra hit back on 20 minutes but Paillaugue quickly responded to restore the
visitors’ six-point advantage.

Montpellier were dealt a blow with the loss of Francois Trinh-Duc mid-way through
the half. The fly-half had struggled with a leg injury for several minutes before
he was unable to continue.

Clermont grabbed the opening try on 27 minutes. Following some strong forward
charges, Parra dinked a dangerous box-kick into the corner and Fofana finished
in emphatic fashion.

Parra failed to add the touchline conversion but the try cut the deficit to
a single point and they soon surged into the lead.

Sivivatu burst onto the ball at pace and turned three defenders inside out
before drawing Lucas Amorosino to send Rougerie under the sticks.

Parra knocked over the simple conversion to bring the scores to 15-9 at the
break, although he was unable to kick the scoreboard back into action following
the restart.

But the hosts took a giant stride towards the semi-finals as Sivivatu blazed
over for a stunning try.

Fofana made the initial inroads and he offloaded inside to the onrushing Sivivatu.
The jet-heeled wing jinked past three defenders including Santiago Fernandez.

They sealed the win on 68 minutes with Rougerie superbly offloading from Fulgence
Ouedraogo’s tackle to send Byrne diving over.

David Skrela converted to open up an insurmountable 20-point lead.

Clermont rubbed salt into Montpellier’s wounds as Nalaga finished another attack
in the closing stages but the visitors had the final word with Timoci Nagusa
scoring in injury time.

Final Score Clermont Auvergne 36 (15) Montpellier 14 (9)

Scorers

Clermont Auvergne
Tries: Fofana, Rougerie, Sivivatu, Byrne, Nalaga
Cons: Parra 2, Skrela 2
Pen: Parra

Montpellier
Try: Nagusa
Pens: Paillaugue 3

Match Officials
Referee
: Wayne Barnes (Eng),
Assistant ref: JP Doyle (Eng),
Assistant ref: Stuart Terheege (Eng),
TMO: Graham Hughes (Eng),
Citing Commissioner: John Byett (Eng)

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