Harlequins 19-26 Clermont Auvergne: Quins end Champions Cup with narrow defeat

Luke Northmore
Try-scorer Luke Northmore was making his second start for Quins
Heineken Champions Cup Pool Three
Harlequins (12) 19
Tries: Northmore, Dombrandt, Herron Cons: Herron 2
Clermont (17) 26
Tries: Betham, Naqalevu Cons: Parra 2 Pens: Parra 4

Harlequins' Heineken Champions Cup season came to an end with a narrow defeat against Clermont, who boosted their chances of a home quarter-final.

Peter Betham's try took Clermont ahead in the second minute but Luke Northmore levelled the scores.

Apisai Naqalevu scored a try and Morgan Parra a penalty to regain Clermont's lead, before Alex Dombrandt crossed.

Parra claimed nine more points from the tee before Brett Herron's try reduced the deficit again.

Clermont could finish as one of the top four teams, giving them a home quarter-final, if one of Racing 92 or Toulouse lose their final pool games, while Quins were already out of contention and finish third in Pool Three.

Heineken Champions Cup Pool Three
TeamPlayedWonLostPoints
Clermont65124
Ulster65121
Harlequins62410
Bath6065

Dombrandt shines again despite defeat

Quins lost 53-21 when they played at Clermont in November and it initially looked as though it could be another difficult afternoon at The Stoop.

The visitors took just two minutes to strike as Camille Lopez's cross-field kick found wing Betham, but Quins hit back almost immediately when Northmore managed to keep hold of Dombrandt's pass to sprint over.

Parra sent the ball left from the base of the ruck and Lopez found centre Naqalevu, who had plenty of room to dive across the tryline.

The hosts' forwards kept Quins in the fight as they drove a maul over, with man of the match Dombrandt - who is expected to be named in England's Six Nations squad next week - dotting down.

Parra's three penalties - Quins conceded 11 in total - extended Clermont's lead after the break before a moment of individual brilliance from Herron, who chased his own kick to score his first Champions Cup try.

But it was not enough to help the hosts to victory and there was further bad news as Northmore left the field injured, deepening Quins' injury woes.

'We're almost there' - what they said

Harlequins captain James Chisholm:

"We've picked up some good momentum in the last couple of weeks to take it back into the Premiership.

"I feel we played really well and we're almost there in terms of winning big games like this."

Line-ups

Harlequins: Morris; R Chisholm, Northmore, Penny, Murley; Herron, Landajo; Marler, Musk, Collier, Young, Cavubati , Lamb, J Chisholm (c), Dombrandt.

Replacements: Riley, Auterac, Sinckler, Freeman, Kunatani, Saunders, Smith, Ibitoye.

Clermont Auvergne: Abendanon; Penaud, Toeava, Naqalevu, Raka; Lopez, Parra (c); Falgoux, Ulugia, Slimani, Timani, Vahaamahina, Fischer, Lapandry, Iturria.

Replacements: Beheregaray, Uhila, Falatea, Jedrasiak, Levave, Laidlaw, McIntyre, Betham.

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