Montpellier overpowered Lyon in a one-sided 40-14 victory to punch their ticket into the Top 14 final on Friday.
Lyon had upset the odds to defeat French powerhouses and three-time European champions Toulon in a match that went to extra-time last weekend to reach the semi-finals.
But big-spending Montpellier, who had a three-week rest period after finishing top in the regular season, proved too tough an obstacle to overcome at Groupama Stadium, as Vern Cotter’s side booked a showdown with Racing 92 or Castres.
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There was little to split the teams in the opening 20 minutes with two Ruan Pienaar penalties and three points from Frans Steyn helping Montpellier into a 9-6 lead, Michael Harris kicking Lyon’s points.
— Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) May 25, 2018
Montpellier put their stamp on the match in the 26th minute, though, a fine flowing move from right to left resulting in Alexandre Dumoulin’s lofted pass being touched down by Nemani Nadolo in the corner.
A Harris penalty reduced the arrears, but Liam Gill’s yellow card on the stroke of half-time left Lyon down a man and the numerical advantage paid immediate dividends when Dumoulin crashed over from close range.
Pienaar added the extras and kicked another three-pointer early in the second half, before a clever pick-and-go from captain Louis Picamoles earned a third try.
Paul Willemse exploited a gap in the Lyon defence with eight minutes to go to put the icing on the cake and, although Harris managed a consolation score, Montpellier reached a first domestic final since 2011.
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