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Morgan Parra's 16-point boot

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Parra's 16-point boot powers Clermont past Harlequins

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Morgan Parra kicked 16 points as Harlequins suffered a 26-19 Champions Cup defeat at the hands of Clermont at the Stoop.

The scrum-half led his side from the off to help Clermont rubberstamp their place at the summit of Pool Three with the victory.

Despite Quins’ qualifying hopes being over before kick-off, head of rugby Paul Gustard called on his side to produce a performance to be proud of in their final pool game.

A flying start saw Clermont take the lead inside three minutes when a perfectly weighted crossfield kick found Peter Betham and he touched down in the corner.

Parra added the extras with a pinpoint conversion, but parity was restored moments later when a powerful break saw centre Luke Northmore go over.

(Continue reading below…)

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The boot of Parra then put Clermont back ahead and, despite some positive Harlequins running, the visitors always looked the more likely in attack. After some last-ditch tackling held Nick Abendanon up on the line, Quins were breached once more as the half-hour mark approached.

Again, the danger came out wide and a well-worked move left Apisai Naqalevu free to score Clermont’s second try before Parra made it 17-7. Another setback triggered another Quins response and a well-worked driving maul saw Alex Dombrandt score to reduce the arrears to five points.

They almost repeated the trick as they looked to set up another maul, only to have their progress halted as Clermont took a 17-12 lead into the half-time break. A sloppy start to the second period resulted in Quins coughing up a number of penalties and Parra duly added nine more points to his tally from the kicking tee.

Now boasting a 26-12 lead and with genuine breathing space to their name for the first time in the game, Clermont took their foot off the gas somewhat. Doing so allowed Quins to hit back, closing the deficit to seven thanks to a superb solo effort from Brett Heron as he chased his own chip and scored in the corner before kicking the conversion.

The try gave Quins renewed belief and they began to ask serious questions of the Clermont defence by driving the ball beyond the gain line on a number of occasions. However, the French outfit had an answer for every attack which came their way and stood firm to frustrate their opponents.

While the final 10 minutes were played almost exclusively in the Clermont half, Quins ultimately came up just short in their search for a game-levelling score and had to settle for a battling defeat.

Quins will now turn their attention back to domestic matters and face a home game with Saracens in their next game a week on Sunday.

– Press Association 

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Parra's 16-point boot powers Clermont past Harlequins
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