Clermont vote for victory against Leinster

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 05:54
Large nick abendanon clermont 800

EUROPEAN CUP SEMIFINAL: Clermont hope to bury the misery of two European Cup final defeats in the last four years by downing three-time champions Leinster on Sunday and reach another title match.

The French side lost the 2013 and 2015 finals to Toulon by scores of 16-15 and 24-18.

They also came up short against Leinster in the 2012 semifinals but three members of that Irish team will be missing from Sunday's semifinal in Lyon.

Injury has ruled out No.8 Jamie Heaslip and flank Sean O'Brien while fellow forward Cian Healy has been suspended for two weeks.

"We're carrying in some good form and there's no reason why we can't go all the way. We are fully aware that Leinster are a fantastic side as well and that they pose lots of threats in attack and defence," Clermont's English wing Nick Abendanon told epcrugby.com.

"I feel like the team has a better understanding, better rugby intelligence of how we want to play the game. We've got some key players - Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra and Remi Lamerat - who are vital to the team and in great form at the moment.

"They're integral parts of the machine," added Abendanon whose team got revenge over Toulon in the quarter-final with a 29-9 win.

However, a final date against either Munster or defending champions Saracens will still appear far away as Celtic League leaders Leinster are unbeaten in 2017.

They also reached the semifinals with an impressive win over English Premiership leaders Wasps.

The Irish side are without Dave and Rob Kearney but wing Isa Nacewa will lead the team on his 50th appearance in the tournament.

Clermont have also suffered key injuries ahead of the semifinal with centres Wesley Fofana and Noa Nakaitaci ruled out.

However, forwards Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili and Sebastien Vahaamahina, who were all uncertain, have been cleared to play.

Damien Penaud, a try scorer in the quarterfinal win over Toulon, has an extra reason to want to get to the final - his father, Alain, was part of the Brive team which won the European Cup back in 1997.

Some French players, meanwhile, insist they will not be distracted by the first round of voting for the next president which takes place also on Sunday.

Flyhalf star Camille Lopez said his thoughts where only on the game.

"I asked myself if I was still registered to vote in Perpignan [where he played until 2014]," he said.

"It will be complicated and I have other things to think about, to be honest. My priority is not the election. Me, I am voting for Clermont!"

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 18 November 2017
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 12h00 Sixways
Italy v Argentina 13h00 Florence
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Wales v Georgia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Australia 15h00 Twickenham
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 15h30 Ricoh Arena
Ireland v Fiji 16h30 Aviva Stadium
Scotland v New Zealand 17h15 Edinburgh
France v South Africa 19h45 Paris
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 14h00 Sandy Park
Leicester Tigers v Bath 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 18h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
Ireland v South Africa 38 | 3
Wales v Australia 21 | 29
England v Argentina 21 | 8
Scotland v Samoa 44 | 38
Italy v Fiji 19 | 10
Sat, 04 November 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 37 | 8
Connacht v Cheetahs 23 | 15
Edinburgh v Ospreys 37 | 10
Barbarians v New Zealand 22 | 31
Kings v Ulster 36 | 43
Japan v Australia 30 | 63
Fri, 03 November 2017
Scarlets v Treviso 20 | 8
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 2 2 0 0 10
Wasps 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 2 1 0 1 4
Harlequins 2 0 0 2 1
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 2 2 0 0 10
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 9
Ospreys 2 0 0 2 3
Northampton Saints 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 2 2 0 0 10
Exeter Chiefs 2 2 0 0 8
Montpellier 2 0 0 2 3
Glasgow Warriors 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 6
Munster 2 1 1 0 6
Racing Metro 2 1 0 1 5
Castres 2 0 1 1 3
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Bath 2 2 0 0 8
Toulon 2 2 0 0 8
Scarlets 2 0 0 2 2
Treviso 2 0 0 2 1