Clermont book Saracens date

Clermont beat Leinster 27-22 in Lyon on Monday to book a berth against English and European champions Saracens in the May 13 final in Edinburgh.

Leinster saw captain Isa Nacewa yellow carded in the first period for pulling back Scott Spedding and they turned around 15-3 down.

But in the second, Leinster came roaring back and four penalties from British and Irish Lion Johnny Sexton put them in with a chance of victory.

Sexton said Leinster were not out of the game despite the halftime deficit.

Parra then missed a penalty that would have made it an 18-point game before Sexton kicked a penalty with the last kick of the first half and early in the second half to cut the lead to nine points.

In the end, however, they couldn't quite catch Clermont, who tagged on two late drop goals to seal victory by a scoreline of 27-22.

Dan Leavy, 8. Jack Conan. Clermont have more of a knowledge how Leinster tick with Jonno [Gibbes, former Leinster coach] who's worked there before but it's a tough one to call.

The visitors could not recover, and would have been even further behind had the French outfit not managed to scupper several opportunities to pile on more points. As in any job you want to learn from every place you work and I have learned a lot from every club but especially those two. Leinster exposed me to guys who had a great way with each other, a team of players that knew what they expected of each other and trusted each other to do their job.

A season of progress, yes, but Leinster were left wanting so much more in Lyon.

Stuart Lancaster is no magician but he has made such a difference to everyone at Leinster
Stuart Lancaster is no magician but he has made such a difference to everyone at Leinster

Clermont were off to a flying start as Fiji flanker Peceli Yato easily won a foot race to dive on Strettle's chip ahead to open the scoring on four minutes. Lopez kicked a penalty and added a drop goal. So Leinster scrapped their way back into a game that should have been well beyond them.

Parra's conversion went wide, but the French team were utterly dominant.

Leinster are unbeaten in their last five Champions Cup games (W4, D1); the last time they went on a longer such run was their record breaking 17 game unbeaten streak from 2010 to 2012 (W16, D1), during which they lifted the trophy twice.

The arrival of Stuart Lancaster in Leinster this season has been received positively by media, fans and players alike, and his presence in the coaching staff has been lauded as one of the key reasons for the province's rejuvenation. Parra kicked the three points from the resulting penalty.

The moment of the second half came when Garry Ringrose made a scintillating linebreak near the halfway line before running all the way in for an incredible score.

"I thought our defence was extraordinary", McCall said.

"You look at that back row and the experience they'll have gotten from playing quarter final, semi final". We are gutted, we gave everything and we'd trained so hard for this.

The Scarlets and Wales centre was part of the Clermont "Class of 2015" that reached the final and fell yet again to RC Toulon at Twickenham Stadium.

  • Julie Sanders