14-man Clermont into final

Clermont booked their place in the Top 14 Final despite a red card for Flip van der Merwe early in the second half, defeating Racing 92 37-31 in Marseille on Saturday.

In a drama-filled encounter, Clermont dominated for large periods with Van der Merwe's sending off – for a dangerous tackle on Teddy Thomas – having little impact on the game's outcome and they eventually outscored Racing by four tries to three.

The result ends Racing's rein as champions and Clermont will now face Clermont in the final at the Stade de France next Sunday.

The match started tentatively with bot sides trying to gain the ascendancy but penalties from Dan Carter and Morgan Parra meant the sides were deadlocked at 3-3 after 10 minutes.

The match alive in the 18th minute when Damian Penaud crashed over for the opening try after running onto a David Strettle pass deep inside Racing 92's 22.

Carter reduced the deficit with his second penalty in the 24th minute but rest of the half belonged to Clermont and they soon extended their lead when Camille Lopez crossed for their second try after Parra did well in the build-up.

Les Jaunards finished the half stronger and two further penalties from Parra gave them a 19-6 lead at half-time.

They were dealt a blow, however, when Van der Merwe received his marching orders for that illegal challenge on Thomas and Carter slotted the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit to 10 points.

Carter then added another three-pointer from the kicking tee which meant the match was evely poised at 19-12 to Clermont by the 47th minute. 

But despite their numerical disadvantage, Clermont continued to attack and they were rewarded a minute later when Lopez went over for his second try after playing quickly from a penalty deep inside Racing's 22.

Five minutes later, Racing were also reduced to 14 men when Chris Masoe was yellow carded for tackling Penaud in the air and Parra's penalty made it 29-12 to Clermont.

Masoe's absence proved costly as 10 minutes after his exit Fritz Lee rounded off a flowing which secured the result for Les Jaunards.

To their credit, Racing continued to attack and Masoe made up for his earlier indiscretion by scoring two of their three tries in the game's closing stages.

The former All Black, who was playing in his final match as a professional barged over from close quarters in the 70th minute and went over in the right hand corner five minutes later after gathering a pass from Anthony Tuitavake.

Racing were not done, however, and a Ben Tameifuna try – which Masoe converted – shortly before full-time added some respectabilty to the score.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Tries:
Penaud, Lopez 2, Lee
Con: Parra
Pens: Parra 5
Red Card: Van der Merwe

For Racing 92:
Tries:
Masoe 2, Tameifuna
Cons: Hart, Masoe
Pens: Carter 4
Yellow Card: Masoe

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Rémi Lamerat, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Judicaël Cancoriet, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Flip Van der Merwe, 4 Arthur Ituria, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphaël Chaume
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Ettiene Falgoux, 18 Paul Jedrasiak, 19 Peceli Yato, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Patricio Fernandez, 22 Aurélien Rougerie, 23 Aaron Jarvis

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Casey Laulala, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Virgile Lacombe, 1 Villiamu Afatia
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 James Hart, 21 Rémi Talès, 22 Anthony Tuitavake, 23 Luc Ducalcon

Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant Referees: Laurent Cardona, Cédric Marchat
TMO: Thomas Charabas

- Team Talk Media
- Team Talk Media