The Clermont v Leinster semi final of the Heineken Cup had it all in spades, Power, Precision, Physicality, Punching, deftness, diving and drama.
The first half and once the pressure had been absorbed it looked like Clermont would power their way through Leinster, they eased out to a 12-6 lead as Brock James and Jonny Sexton kicked their goals. A tight call by referee Barnes had denied Clermont a score for a forward pass, when minutes earlier a much cleared one for Leinster was not called (could this be an omen).
The second half and Leinster as they so often do were starting to fire and get the rub of breakdown penalty calls so it was the Cian Healy went over and a Sexton penalty stretched the score to 12-16, James closed it to 15-16 before Sexton pushed it to 15-19.
The last 10 minutes were absorbing as the French outfit battered the line, Fofana lost the ball in the act of grounding and a couple of times you could have sworn the line was crossed But in the dark of the ruck it was not given or tested.
So it was thet Leinster and their brick-wall defence kept out Clermont and they probably desreved the win for their die hard never give up attitude was it experience and a bit of luck that took them into and all Irish final again?
Final score: Clermont 15-19 Leinster
Pens: James 5
Pens: Sexton 3
Clermont Auvergne: Lee Byrne; Sitiveni Sivivatu, Aurelien Rougerie (capt), Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu; Brock James, Morgan Parra; Lionel Faure, Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili; Jamie Cudmore, Nathan Hines; Julien Bonnaire, Alexandre Lapandry, Elvis Vermeulen.
Replacements: Ti’i Paulo, Vincent Debaty, Daniel Kotzen, Julien Pierre, Julien Bardy, Ludovic Radosavljevic, Regan King, Jean-Marcel Buttin.
Leinster: Rob Kearney; Isa Nacewa, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonathan Sexton, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Leo Cullen (capt), Brad Thorn; Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Heinke van der Merwe, Nathan White, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Final: Twickenham Stadium Saturday 19 May 2012