Rugby Union

Leicester Tigers fall short in Clermont

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Leicester Tigers produced a spirited second-half display at the Stade Marcel Michelin, but ultimately fell short as Clermont Auvergne prevailed 22-16 in their Heineken Cup quarter-final.

The Top 14 side made it 75 games unbeaten at home with victory over last season's Aviva Premiership champions, but were ran close in the final stages after an impressive start.

Morgan Parra's boot did most of the damage, as he kicked three penalties and converted Wesley Fofana's try to put the hosts 16-0 up inside 35 minutes. The versatile inside centre's try - which made it 10-0 at the time - came after trading passes with prop Davit Zirakashvili, and the Frenchman ran clear to score out wide.

However, Jordan Crane got the visitors on the scoreboard when he crossed over in the corner following Owen Williams' intelligent kick.

The fly-half then added the extras, but Para stretched the lead to 12 points before the break with another excellent kick in-front of just over 18,000 partisan fans.

They quickly saw the game change in the final 40 minutes however, as Williams kicked the Tigers back in contention with three penalties. Trailing by just three points, Parra and Brock James missed chances to extend the advantage as nerves began to take hold, before a pivotal yellow card to Thomas Waldron sapped the momentum out of Richard Cockerill's side.

The forward had only been on the field for three minutes, but referee Alain Rolland had no hesitation in sending the player to the bin for illegally preventing a Clermont drive moving closer towards the Leicester line.

Parra added three more points whilst playing against 14-men, but they couldn't get any more and with just six points in it, the Tigers had a chance when restored to the full 15.

And, they came agonisingly close to causing a major upset, with captain Ed Slater crashing to within metres of of the Clermont line. James was eventually able to clear, and the French side held on for a tense victory.

Vern Cotter's side will now face Saracens in the semi-final of the competition at Twickenham, after their 17-15 victory against Ulster later in the day on Saturday.

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Leicester Tigers
Clermont Auvergne
Rugby Union
Heineken Cup

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