Monday 22 May 2017

Munster come up short

Denis Hurley scored Munster's solitary try
Denis Hurley scored Munster's solitary try

Munster's brave bid to derail Clermont Auvergne's march to their first Heineken Cup title fell short in a cagey 16-10 semi-final defeat in Montpellier.

Morgan Parra converted Napolioni Nalaga's ninth-minute try and landed three penalties as the much-fancied French club booked their place in the Dublin decider on Saturday, May 18.

Stade de la Mosson witnessed a stunning show of colour and noise from both sets of fans, with Clermont displaying a mental toughness late on that they have lacked in previous seasons.

They banished the blues of Bordeaux from 12 months ago when they fell at the semi-final hurdle to Leinster, deservedly pulling through against a defiant Munster side.

Vern Cotter's men gave glimpses of their enviable power and pace in the opening half, shooting into a 13-3 interval lead in the partisan atmosphere.

Munster dug deep to get back within striking distance when a converted try from replacement Denis Hurley cancelled out Parra's third penalty.

That set up a tense climax during which Parra knocked a penalty attempt wide and although Casey Laulala went close to a second try for the Irish province, Clermont held on to seal their maiden final appearance.

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