Clermont grind their way past Harlequins
MATCH REPORT: Clermont Auvergne were made to dig deep as they saw off Harlequins 26-19 to top Champions Cup Pool 3.
The visitors made a quick start with delightful attacking move was rounded off by a Camille Lopez kick wide to Peter Betham who had time to collect and dot down.
Harlequins responded with some lovely quick passing from the hosts and it was Luke Northmore who went over to equalise after just six minutes.
After a crazy start, Clermont settled into the match and won a penalty, allowing Morgan Parra to pop between the posts and nudge the visitors ahead on 11 minutes.
Half-back partners Camille Lopez and Parra would then combine minutes later to find Apisai Naqalevu who powers over with the overlap creating a gap out wide.
On 30 minutes, Harlequins again replied with brute force from the hosts who took Clermont by surprise in the driving maul and it was Alex Dombrandt under a pile of Quins players.
The second half was a tighter affair with Parra adding six points from the kicking tee with Clermont nudging into a 26-12 lead.
Harlequins were not done with as Brett Herron chipped and chased his own pass, and as the ball landed awkwardly for Lopez, Herron collected to score and landed the conversion to make it a seven-point game.
The hosts piled on pressure in the latter stages but couldn’t force a final try over the line as Clermont clung on to win the match and secure Pool 3.
Tries: Northmore, Herron, Dombrandt
Cons: Herron 2
Tries: Betham, Naqalevu
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 4
Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Ross Chisholm, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Tom Penny, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Brett Herron, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 James Chisholm (captain), 6 Dino Lamb, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Glen Young, 3 Will Collier, 2 Jack Musk, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Semi Kunatani, 21 Niall Saunders, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Gabriel Ibitoye.
Clermont Auvergne: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Isaiah Toeava, 12 Apisai Naqalevu, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra (captain), 8 Arthur Iturria, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Alexandre Fischer, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Etienne Falgoux.
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Faifili Levave, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Peter Betham.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Mark Patton (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)