Champions Cup: Clermont v Leinster

Last province standing Leinster take on Clermont in the European Cup semi-finals in Lyon

Patrick Madden Sun, Apr 23
 
LIVE: Champions Cup: Clermont v Leinster

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  • Good afternoon!

    And then there was one. Munster's defeat to Saracens yesterday means there will be no all-Irish Champions Cup final, but today Leinster can ensure there will be one province flying the flag in Edinburgh on May 13th.

    Their task this afternoon is equally as daunting, as they take on French giants Clermont Auvergne at the Stade de Gerland.

    But with a side packed with power, pace and youth - and with Johnny Sexton steering the ship at 10 - you wouldn't put it past them to book their place in next month's Murrayfield showpiece.

    We'll be bringing you all the action from Lyon, so get settled and enjoy as Leinster look to take one more step towards European glory.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAMS:

    CLERMONT AUVERNGE:  Scott Spedding; David Strettle, Aurélien Rougerie, Remi Lamerat, Nick Abendanon; Camille Lopez,  Morgan Parra; Raphael Chaume, Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili, Arthur Iturria, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Damien Chouly (c), Peceli Yato, Fritz Lee. Replacements: John Ulugia, Etienne Falgoux, Aaron Jarvis, Paul Jedrasiak, Alexandre Lapandry, Ludovic Radosavljevic , Pato Fernandez, Damien Penaud.

    LEINSTER:  Joey Carbery; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Isa Nacewa (captain); Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, Hayden Triggs; Rhys Ruddock, Dan Leavy, Jack Conan. Replacements: Seán Cronin, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Zane Kirchner.

  • Bit of pre-match reading?

    Gerry Thornley has previewed today's match HERE.

    And you can read his piece on the second coming of Isa Nacewa HERE.

  • Four of today's Leinster side - Robbie Henshaw, Johnny Sexton, Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong - were named in Warren Gatland's Lion squad last week. Today is a big chance for Garry Ringrose to show Gatland what he's missing out on.
  • In the Challenge Cup Stade Francais will play Gloucester in the final after they just beat Bath 28-25 in the semis - George Ford missing a penalty to square things with the last kick of the game.
  • 30 MINUTES UNTIL KICK OFF IN LYON!
  • It's a stunning day in Lyon, with a 40,000-strong sea of yellow starting to bubble away. These two sides are the tournament's leading try scorers - Clermont trail Leinster with 28 to 35.  

    Leinster's last European outing against Wasps was also pitched as a battle between two potent attacking forces - one which Leo Cullen's side won with ease. Today will be much harder, and far more physical.

  • Leinster are in the tunnel, Clermont having a final pep-talk in their changing room. A football-style atmosphere awaits them.
  • And here come the teams. Clermont in dark blue, Leinster in dark blue and flourescent green. Colour clash.
  • Johnny Sexton has the ball in hand.  

    We're off!!!

  • 1 min: Yato spills the ball from kick off and Leavy steams in with a big hit but gets penalised. Not the best touch-finder from Lopez but Clermont will have the throw.
  • 2 min: Leinster building from deep, Luke McGrath setting a good tempo, and they earn a penalty inside their own 10-metre. Sexton finds a good touch.
  • 3 min: Strauss goes long with the throw and over-cooks it, coughing up possession to Clermont. It's soon kicked back to Leinster and Ringrose tries a chip over the top and finds Abendanon who frees Strettle in space on the right. Clermont retaining the ball near the Leinster 22 with a penalty advantage.  
  • TRY CLERMONT!!!
  • What a start for the hosts. Clermont work the short and Strettle chips over Nacewa for flanker Yato, who dives on the ball ingoal. That all came form Ringrose giving Clermont broken-field ball. Owens checks the try with the TMO and it's fine.

    Good conversion form Parra.

    5 MIN: CLERMONT 7 LEINSTER 0

  • 6 min: Clermont have their tails up, Parra with an excellent boxkick in behind McFadden after Leinster were turned over.
  • 7 min: Leinster ball on halfway and Sexton brings a bit of pace to the attack with a sharp pass, and Carbery nearly gets away on the outside should but Rougerie scrags him. Leinster pinged for holding on.
  • 8 min: Clermont go close again. They get good lineout ball on the left and move it cross field where Spedding tries to grubber through for Strettle but sees his kick blocked by McFadden.  

    YELLOW CARD FOR NACEWA! Leinster's captain was pulling back Strettle off the ball and he gets done by the TMO.

  • Parra goes for goal with the penalty out on the right, and splits the posts.

    9 MIN: CLERMONT 10 LEINSTER 0

  • 10 min: Leinster need some possession here to take the wind out of Clermont's sails, but it's the hosts who have it and Parra finds Carbery with a boxkick and he is dragged into touch inside the 10-metre.
  • 11 min: A good tackle from Jack McGrath forces Lee into conceding a penalty when Leinster were under a bit of pressure. Sexton finds touch on the halfway.
  • 12 min: Parra is giving a masterclass thus far - Leinster lose another lineout on halfway and he quickly pins the visitors back with another kick in behind Carbery.
  • 13 min: Clermont have the ball on the Leinster 22 - it's vital Leinster keep them out here.  
  • TRY CLERMONT!!!!!!
  • And they can't. Clermont build the pressure and again target the shortside through Strettle, who takes a good pass from Parra and dances inside for the score. That all stemmed from another missed lineout from Strauss who is having a stinker so far.  

    Parra can't quite nail a difficult kick.

    16 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 0

  • 17 min: Leinster try to put Clermont under a bit of pressure under their own posts but the hosts escape with a penalty which Lopez clears. Leinster need a foothold badly.
  • 18 min: Leinster have the ball and Henshaw tries to carve his way through on the outside shoulder where he's hauled down. Leinster try to get quick ball but Clermont are ferocious at the breakdown and slow it, before Parra pinches the ball off Strauss. Nacewa comes back on.
  • 19 min: Clermont retain the ball well on halfway, Lamerat with a nice offload, before Strauss is pinged after getting caught on the wrong side. Lopez kicks the penalty up to the 22.  
  • 20 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 0
  • 22 min: A rare chance for Leinster to move it through the hands as McFadden gets them across the halfway. They are retaining it, but only just, and there's an air of inevitability about the sound of Nigel Owen's whistle after Toner gets done for holding on.
  • 24 min: Leinster's first opportunity comes from more Clermont pressure, as the ball goes loose on the visitor's five-metre and they break. Ringrose steps off his left and beats one to make the space for Nacewa but a stunning tackle from Strettle sends the ball loose and brings the move to an end.
  • 26 min: Rougerie met with a big tackle but somehow manages to get away the offload to Speedding. Lopez then goes cross field to Strettle but the ball goes forward after he looks to pop it down.
  • 28 min: Solid Leinster scrum and they move it left through the hands to Nacewa who gets them up to the Clermont 10. More good hands see Henshaw make a good carry and this is better from Leinster, but the move breaks down after a loose pass on the left.  
  • 30 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 0
  • 31 min: McFadden sweeps and then skews a kick straight into touch. Clermont lineout on the Leinster 10.
  • 34 min: Good work from McFadden to just force Spedding into touch on Clermont's left - lineout inside the French half.
  • 35 min: Clermont go close again after Leinster lose the ball and Spedding hacks through. He's clear but stumbles as he stoops to gather on the Leinster 22 and loses possesison. There's another mistake form Leinster though and Clermont have a scrum on the 22.
  • 37 min: Chance for Clermont to extend their lead just before half time after Owens awards them a penalty on the left.

    Parra to take - but he pushes it wide. Let off for Leinster.

    38 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 0

  • 39 min: Late possession for Leinster but Clermont are holding their ground on the halfway. Patient building though and Ruddock slips a tackle. Leinster are up to the Clermont 22 - this is their best passage of the game. There's a penalty advantage and they kick it away quickly to give Sexton his first shot at goal.

    This is straightforward - and Sexton gives Leinster to take into the break.

    HT: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 3

  • The teams are back out in Lyon. Leinster with a mountain to climb, but it's doable.

    Lopez has the ball, and we're back underway!

  • 41 min: Sexton opts to keep the ball in hand after Leinser field the restart and it's moved right where Conan makes a good carry. They are awarded a penalty - that will be a settling start to the second half for the visitors.
  • 42 min: There is already far more bite to Leinster's play as they break up the right and then move it left to Nacewa who carries into the 22. Leinster retaining the ball well but Clermont doing everything in their power to slow it down. And they do too much - Leinster have the advantage.

    Easy penalty for Sexton, and he knocks it over from under the posts.

    43 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 6

  • 44 min: Short Clermont kick off and it falls nicely for Ruddock after Henshaw gets a hand to it. Leinster keeping it in hand again and they have another advantage after Ringrose dances inside and is tackled high. This is much, much better. Sexton finds a solid touch.
  • 46 min: Leinster win the ball and Sexton takes it at first receiver. Strauss plays scrum half and finds Ringrose who steps nicely. Bit of swagger entering Leinster's play with Carbery showing a couple of flashes. Good ball retention from the visitors and there's another advantage coming - but they are going for the throat. Ringrose nearly dances through before play breaks down with numbers out on the right.

    Sexton can reduce the deficit to six points - easy as you like.

    48 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 9

  • 50 min: This is opening up a bit now. First new man Cronin fields deep and kicks ahead down the line. Clermont run it back and Furlong makes a crunching hit. They move it right where openside Yato chips ahead himself and it takes a brilliant covering tackle from Luke McGrath to save Leinster's bacon.
  • It's all Leinster, and again they're awarded a very kickable penalty. Play breaks down inside the 22 so Sexton will go for goal - and he strokes it over.

    53 MIN: CLERMONT 15 LEINSTER 12

  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • DISALLOWED TRY!!!
  • A stunning Leinster score is disallowed by the TMO! It was a lovely reverse ball from Sexton to Carbery who burst clear and found Sexton who then found Henshaw back out wide. Henshaw was held up five metres short but Leavy was there to force his way over. But replays showed that at the original breakdown try scorer Leavy held onto the leg of Rougerie, creating the gap which Carbery burst through.

    Penalty for Clermont, and Parra nails it. That's a huge swing.

    56 MIN: CLERMONT 18 LEINSTER 12

  • 57 min: Clermont lineout in Leinster territory but it's good spoiling work from Toner and they hold it up well, earning a scrum.
  • 60 min: Clermont make absolute mince meat of the Leinster scrum and move it left dangerously. Lamerat is about to find Spedding when Henshaw makes a brilliant covering tackle and forces him into a forward pass.
  • 60 MIN: CLERMONT 18 LEINSTER 12
  • 62 min: Lee runs onto a dangeorus short ball and pierces the Leinster line. Clermont getting go forward ball and they are firmly back in the ascendancy.  
  • DROP GOAL CLERMONT!!!
  • Leinster slow down the Clermont ball well so they go back to Lopez very deep in the pocket - not far inside the 10-metre - and nails it with a brilliant strike.

    64 MIN: CLERMONT 21 LEINSTER 12

  • 65 min: Leinster looking for an instant response but Cronin spills the ball on the Clermont 22.
  • 67 min: Leinster have possession but not territory - they're trying to build from deep.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!!
  • GARRY RINGROSE! WHAT A SCORE! He has the ball on halfway with very little on but engineers the space with two brilliant steps off his right, before dummying an inside ball and scorching over the try line. We've seen that one before...

    Sexton converts. Game on.

    69 MIN: CLERMONT 21 LEINSTER 19

  • 70 min: Mistake from Leinster - they look to play from deep but a good tackle from Lee on Ringrose slows it down and they get penalised for coming in at the side.

    Lopez can put Clermont five points clear - and he makes no mistake.

    71 MIN: CLERMONT 24 LEINSTER 19

  • 72 min: Kirchner runs his way into a blind alley and is shunted into touch just inside the Clermont half.
  • 73 min: Good covering from Carbery but his foot slips into touch as he takes it. Clermont have a penalty though, just inside the Leinster half, and Spedding will have a go at goal.

    Spedding's effort has the legs but not the direction.

    74 MIN: CLERMONT 24 LEINSTER 19

  • DROP GOAL CLERMONT!!!
  • Lopez breaks Leinster hearts with another brilliant effort after Sexton's short restart doesn't work.

    75 MIN: CLERMONT 27 LEINSTER 19

  • 76 min: Leinster retaining the ball outside the Clermont 22 but as it stands the dark blue wall is holding firm.
  • 77 min: Leinster have a penalty advantage and Gibson-Park kicks away possession so Sexton has time to go for goal.

    Sexton wastes no time in slotting the penalty. Leinster have time to get that last score.

    78 MIN: CLERMONT 27 LEINSTER 22

  • 79 min: Brilliant Clermont kickchase and Penaud leaps highest to claim it. That could be curtains.
  • FT: CLERMONT 27 LEINSTER 22
  • Right then thanks for joining today. The province's European dreams might be dead but there's plenty left to play for on the domestic front.  

    Gerry Thornley's match report will be live shortly.

    Cya!