28 Apr 2013

NZ coached Clermont reach European rugby final

9:30 am on 28 April 2013

Clermont Auvergne has qualified for its first ever European Cup rugby final after ousting twice former winners Munster 16-10 in a bruising semi-final at Montpellier.

Coached by New Zealander Vern Cotter the French Top 14 leaders will face either compatriots Toulon or English Premiership pacesetters Saracens, in the May 18 final.

Fijian winger Napolioni Nalaga scored a try for Clermont while France scrum-half Morgan Parra kicked 11 points.

The opening try for Clermont on nine minutes came after a searing break from former New Zealand wing Sitiveni Sivivatu stretched the Munster defence.

Munster were first on the scoreboard as veteran fly-half Ronan O'Gara stroked over a penalty from 30 yards after Clermont were pinged for collapsing a maul.

But those were the only points the Irish province scored in the first period going into the break 13-3 down.

Another Parra penalty stretched Clermont's lead in the second, but O'Gara rolled back the years with a cleverly disguised grubber to send Hurley over in the right corner before adding the extras.

The final whistle signalled wild scenes of celebration both on the pitch and in the stands as Clermont's long wait to reach a European Cup final came to an end.