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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Clermont through to first ever Heineken Cup Final after tense win over Munster

Clermont will face Toulon in the final of the Heineken Cup after a tense 16-10 victory over Munster at the Stade de la Mosson on Saturday. It will be their first ever Heineken Cup final in what in what will be a closely fought all French affair in Dublin.

Clermont looked in control for a large part of the game after having scored a stunning try early on through powerful winger Napolioni Nalaga. Munster couldn't stop the powerful French outfit extending their lead, as Morgan Parra slotted three penalties in total, taking the gap out to 16-3.

Two-time former champions Munster came back late in the piece though as Denis Hurley got on the end of a well placed Ronan O'Gara stab through. It wasn't enough however and all hopes of a dramatic comeback were snuffed out by the might of this very impressive Clermont side.

On a weekend where veteran number tens shone, it would have been fitting if O'Gara had somehow manufactured a victory for his side, but as it was there were tears in the end and it was perhaps the last time we'll see him grace the tournament.

He said that he wasn't focussing on himself but would give it till the end of the season to decide whether he will hang up his boots of play another season with Munster.

Lee Byrne was delighted with the victory, but also paid tribute to the courageous effort from the visitors. "It is a dream come true for me to finally reach a Heineken Cup final. But you can't take anything away from Munster - they wore their famous red jersey with real pride," he said.

Clermont will face Toulon in the Heineken Cup Final in Dublin on May 18th, kickoff at 17:00 local.

Below are both tries and on the next page you can view emotional interviews with victorious Byrne and Nathan Hines, as well as distraught O'Gara and Paul O'Connell.

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