Lucky Leinster survive late call to reach final

CLERMONT AUVERGNE (15) vs LEINSTER (19)

LEINSTER reached their third Heineken Cup final in four years after a thrilling semi-final victory away to Clermont.

The Irish province, winners in 2009 and 2011, trailed 12-6 at half-time but survived a dramatic finish to fight back and set up a final meeting with 1999 winners Ulster.

A try from Cian Healy, converted by Jonny Sexton, Rob Kearney’s drop-goal and three further Sexton penalties earned the win as Clermont ultimately failed to add to five penalties from Brock James.

Fly-half Sexton’s two first-half penalties kept Leinster in contention while four from James gave the French side their lead.

When Healy touched down early in the second half, and Kearney and Sexton increased the lead with their scores, Leinster still required luck when Wesley Fofana’s late try was disallowed, after he lost control of the ball over the line, by the televison match official (TMO). Clermont continued to pressure in the game’s closing stages but resilient defending proved enough to secure an all-Irish final at Twickenham on 19 May.

“It goes to the TMO – sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. We got it there and at the end of the day that’s the difference between the two teams,” said Leinster captain Leo Cullen.

On Saturday, Ulster edged their own close semi-final after 17 points from fly-half Ruan Pienaar inspired a 22-19 victory over Edinburgh.