Clermont come from behind to beat Harlequins

Clermont came from being 10 points behind at half time to beat Harlequins 13-16 at The Twickenham Stoop and secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.

The win meant the French giants will top Pool 4, having already amassed 19 points from their five games, seven ahead of second-placed Harlequins with a game in hand.

Clermont came out firing and a frantic start saw fly-half Brock James notching up his first penalty in the third minute.

After No 8 Fritz Lee broke away, James landed an inch-perfect crosskick but Fijian winger Napolioni Nalaga couldn’t hold it with the line begging, Lee then putting down a try-scoring pass from the resulting line-out.

A piece of individual brilliance from Quins’ England scrum-half Danny Care then lit up the Stoop.

Care latched on to an unlikely chip ahead from skipper Chris Robshaw but found himself bound for touch at a lick.

Carefully avoiding the whitewash, Care managed a blind one-handed pass behind him, which Matt Hooper caught for a clear run-in.

The momentum swung the way of the London club, Evans booting a penalty after his own slick break, with Clermont left to rue their missed chances.

The French club opened the second-half just as they wanted, a cruel bounce from a Morgan Parra chip leaving Quins full-back Mike Brown stranded and Nalaga free to hack through and dot down for a try.

Clermont’s pressing paid off when former All Black winger Sitiveni Sivivatu crossed with eight minutes to play, to draw the scores level, James unable to nail the tricky conversion.

The Australian made amends shortly after with a simpler penalty shot to hand the French giants a hard-fought victory.

In Pool 5 action, two-time Cup winners Leicester withstood an early onslaught from Italian outfit Treviso to run out 34-19 bonus-point winners.

Flanker Julian Salvi and winger Miles Benjamin each scored a brace of tries, with ex-Perpignan half-back David Mele pitching in with three penalties and a conversion.

Treviso had taken a shock lead through a Lorenzo Cittadini try, converted by Mat Berquist, who also booted four penalties.

The result means that Leicester face Ulster – 27-16 winners over Montpellier on Friday – next week in a winner-takes-all game, the Irish province currently leading the table on 22 points, two ahead of the English club.

Final Score Harlequins (13) 13Clermont Auvergne (3) 16

Scorers

Harlequins
Tries – Hopper
Pen -Evans 2
Con – Evans
Drop –

Clermont
Tries – Nalaga, Sivivatu
Pen – James 2
Con –
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee:
John Lacey (Ireland),
Assistant ref : Gary Conway (Ireland),
Assistant ref : Brian MacNiece (Ireland),
TMO : Simon McDowell (Ireland),
Citing Commissioner : Maurizio Vancini (Italy)

Teams

Harlequins: Mike Brown; Charlie Walker, Matt Hopper, Tim Molenaar, Ugo Monye; Nick Evans, Danny Care; Joe Marler, Dave Ward, Will Collier, Nick Kennedy, George Robson, Luke Wallace, Chris Robshaw (c), Nick Easter

Replacements: Joe Gray, Mark Lambert, Paul Doran-Jones, Charlie Matthews, Tom Guest, Karl Dickson, Ben Botica, Ollie Lindsay- Hague

ASM Clermont Auvergne: Jean-Marcel Buttin; Sitiveni Sivivatu, Aurélien Rougerie (c), Wesley Fofana, Naipolioni Nalaga; Brock James, Morgan Parra; Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili, Jamie Cudmore, Nathan Hines, Julien Bardy, Alexandre Lapandry, Fritz L

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