Damian Penaud scored a superb individual try for Clermont in the first half
European Challenge Cup
ASM Clermont Auvergne (26) 32
Tries: Lee, Penaud Cons: Parra 2 Pens: Parra 4 Drop goals: Lopez 2
Harlequins (8) 27
Tries: Brown, Robshaw, Lang, Dombrandt Cons: Smith 2 Pen: Smith

Clermont Auvergne proved too strong for Premiership side Harlequins in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.

Tries from Fritz Lee and Damian Penaud gave the Top 14 side the perfect platform to lead 26-8 at the break.

Despite tries from Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw, James Lang and Alex Dombrandt, Quins could not complete a memorable comeback after trailing 32-8.

Morgan Parra notched 16 points with his boot for the hosts alongside two early drop goals from Camille Lopez.

Clermont will face La Rochelle in an all-French final in Newcastle in May after they beat Sale 24-20 in the other semi-final.

Harlequins held their own during the opening quarter but Clermont took control in the closing stages of the first half when number eight Fritz and France winger Penaud both crossed in the space of four minutes.

Brown’s try did see Quins mount a response but another Parra penalty gave the hosts a 26-8 lead at half-time.

France scrum-half Parra stretched that advantage with two more penalties before Ross Chisholm was denied a try when Dombrandt brushed the touchline with his left boot as he tried to offload.

Rather than knock the stuffing out of Paul Gustard’s side, it galvanised them as first Robshaw dotted down under the posts and then replacement centre Lang latched on to Marcus Smith’s grubber kick to bring them within 10 points.

Back row Dombrant then got underneath a rolling maul for Quins’ fourth try in the dying seconds, but there was no more time to steal the restart off two-time winners Clermont.

Clermont Auvergne: Tuicuvu; Penaud, Moala, Fofana, Raka; Lopez, Parra; Falgoux, Kayser, Slimani, Timani, Vahaamahina, Iturria, Lapandry, Lee.

Replacements: Ulugia, Kakabadze, Simutoga, Jedrasiak, Chouly, Laidlaw, Nanai Williams, Betham.

Harlequins: Brown; R Chisholm, Alofa, Tapuai, Walker; Smith, Hidalgo-Clyne; Marler, Buchanan, Sinckler, Symons, Glynn, Clifford, Robshaw (capt), Dombrandt.

Replacements: Elia, Auterac, Ibuanokpe, South, Kunatani, Saunders, Lang, Saili.

Referee: John Lacey (Ire)

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