Planet Rugby

Parra kicks Clermont into the semis

07th May 2010 22:07

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Chabal v Clermont

Letting it slip: Sebastian Chabal can't find a way through Clermont

Clermont's quest for a Top 14 title continues after they booked a semi-final against Toulon with a 21-17 win over Racing Metro on Friday.

A flawless kicking display from Morgan Parra, including three penalties in the final quarter and after taking over from the profligate Brock James, took the Jaunards to the win in a tight, tense match at the Marcel Michelin.

James landed kicks in the 4th and 15th minutes to take Clermont into a 6-0 lead and it was one well-deserved as they laid on their usual expansive game. Napolioni Nalaga was introduced often, as was Julien Malzieu as the home side stretched the blue and white defence.

But there was no breakthrough and as James missed two further kicks, the crowd and players grew a little restless.

Racing made the breakthrough instead, after a break by Julien Saubade down the left and the ball was moved right. It was Jacques Cronje who got the ball to the line in the end. Jonathan Wisniewski - who also missed a shot at goal earlier on - missed the extras and Clermont took a slender one-point lead into the break.

It got worse for the home side before it got better, with Wisniewski giving Racing the lead after the break and Francois Steyn landing a boomer from distance to make it 11-6.

Parra took over from an out-of-sorts James to reduce the gap to two, but Wisniewski once again made it a five-plint game with a drop goal.

Again Parra reduced the gap, but again Racing brought it to five, this time with a trademark monster drop goal from Steyn.

But the visitors were wilting. Anthony Floch's introduction gave the visitors too much to cope with and the penalties came thick and fast.

Parra landed one more, 15-17. The next gave Clermont the lead again at 18-17, also with a yellow card to Santiago Dellape.

Andrew Mehrtens came on to try and bring a territorial stability to the visitors and he missed a drop at goal with six to go, but then a high tackle by Steyn gave Parra another shot for posts. He didn't miss and there was no way Racing were going to score a try by this point.

Clermont are in the semi-finals once more; can they go all the way this time?

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Pens: James 2, Parra 5

For Racing:
Try: Cronje
Pens: Wisniewski, Steyn
Pens: Wisniewski, Steyn

Clermont: 15 Aurélien Rougerie (c) 14 Napolioni Nalaga, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Julien Malzieu 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benoît Cabello, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Remplacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Thibaut Privat, 19 Alexandre Audebert, 20 Kevin Senio, 21Tasesa Lavea, 22 Anthony Floch, 23 Martin Scelzo.

Racing-Metro: 15 Jonathan Wisniewski, 14 Sereli Bobo, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Saubade - 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Jérôme Fillol, 8 Sébastien Chabal, 7 Jacques Cronje, 6 John Leo'o, Lionel Nallet (cap.), 4 Santiago Dellape, 3 Mikaele Tuugahala, 2 Olivier Diomandé, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Remplacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Mehdi Merabet, 18 Jone Qovu, 19 Willem Le Roux, 20 Nic Berry, 21 Andrew Mehrtens, 22 Mani Vakaloa, 23 Juan-Pablo Orlandi.

Referee: Pascal Gaüzère

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