Leicester 27 – 17 Clermont

Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 second leg – Friday: Leinster 56-20 (82-41) Connacht, Bristol 29-35 (39-44) Sale; Saturday: Harlequins 33-20 (59-60) Montpellier, Munster 26-10 (34-23) Exeter, La Rochelle 31-23 (62-36), Bordeaux, Leicester 27-17 (56-27) Clermont, Ulster vs Toulouse

Last update: 04/16/22 8:22 p.m.

Hanro Liebenberg scored one of four tries as Leicester headed to the European Cup quarters

Leicester booked a tantalizing Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final with Leinster after finishing the job against Clermont Auvergne with a 27-17 win.

A brilliant performance in France six days earlier gave Steve Borthwick’s side a 19-point advantage in the second leg at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, where the hosts have been unbeaten since June 2021.

An eventful first half yielded just one try through Hanro Liebenberg but the floodgates opened in the second with Matt Scott and Freddie Steward landing as well as a penalty try as the Tigers picked up a 56-27 aggregate win.

Clermont kept a respectable tie as Alivereti Raka and Fritz Lee picked up tries, the second of which came after Ollie Chessum’s red card which could rule the England international out of the knockout stages in early May. However, the Premiership leaders would not be denied a place in the quarter-finals.

After surviving an early storm as the visitors denied kicks on goal in favor of the tries they needed, it was the Tigers who scored on their first foray into the attacking 22.

Captain Ellis Genge went wild in the heart of the defense and a quick recycling later, Liebenberg reached out for a try which George Ford converted.

George Ford scored a penalty and a conversion in the win

George Ford scored a penalty and a conversion in the win

Camille Lopez’s penalty put Clermont on the scoreboard and others could have followed as Raka took a huge line break. Danger seemed to be avoided with Ford’s tape, but his resulting kick was charged and then grounded by Baptiste Jauneau, only for the TMO to decide he was grounded on the dead ball line.

A flurry of action at the end of the first half saw Harry Wells toppling over as he drove towards the line as Chris Ashton’s dive off a Jack van Poortvliet grubber was hit.

With two Tigers players injured, Clermont surged as Jauneau broke on a sublime diagonal run and, with Ford closing, the scrum-half threw a pass to Giorgi Beria, who fumbled with the line at its thank you.

Wesley Fofana’s break early in the second half was then skillfully ended by Refel’s tackle.

Ford stretched Leicester’s lead with a penalty before mesmerizing the French defense with a chicken step and dummy, allowing Reffel to set Scott up for the score which opened up a colossal 31-point aggregate lead with as many minutes to play.

Matt Scott passes for Leicester's second try at Welford Road

Matt Scott passes for Leicester’s second try at Welford Road

Clermont finally netted the try he had threatened when Cheikh Tiberghien escaped and fed Raka for a simple finish. However, he failed to spark a late comeback as Ford’s masterful restart caused chaos.

Etienne Fourcade saw the yellow before Leicester fought their way to a penalty try as Daniel Bibi Biziwu became the second Clermont first-tier to be cautioned within a minute.

That power play didn’t last long as Chessum was ruled out for a shoulder to the head by Samuel Ezeala. This was followed by the match try as Harry Potter’s weaving run provided the help for Steward.

Clermont’s headers didn’t drop as Lee’s try, converted by Morgan Parra, proved to be the final scoring act, but it was the Tigers who progressed to the last eight with an aggregate victory of 56-27.

Sky Sports

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