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.
Continue reading below
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.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now