Leinster fightback floors Clermont
29 Apr 2012
Leinster beat Clermont 19-15 on Sunday to book their place in the European Cup final.
The result ensures that the decider at Twickenham on 19 May will be an all-Irish affair. Leinster will battle the winners of the first semi-final Ulster, who edged Edinburgh in Saturday’s play-off.
On Sunday, Clermont led Leinster 12-6 at half-time thanks to the goal-kicking of Brock James. But the momentum shifted in Leinster’s favour when prop Cian Healy dotted down at the start of the second stanza.
Rob Kearney added a drop goal moments later to further edge the Irishmen ahead. James booted a penalty in the 52nd minute to narrow the deficit, but Leinster kept on coming, and their ability to control both possession and territory eventually resulted in yet another penalty goal for Jonny Sexton.
It was a score that took Leinster out to an important 19-15 lead. Clermont needed a try to win, and with two minutes remaining, they so nearly snatched the five pointer that would have propelled them into the final.
The hosts controlled the ball beautifully through the phases, hammering away at the Leinster defence. Clermont No 12 Wesley Fofana looked to have wrestled his way over the tryline, but the television review revealed a knock on that would break French hearts.
Clermont managed to win a penalty from the subsequent scrum, ensuring one final crack at victory. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Leinster defence was equal to that final challenge, winning a breakdown penalty that brought the game to a close.