Laid­law to the fore as Cler­mont clinch cup

The Scotsman - - WEEKEND SPORT -

C l e r m o n t A u v e r g n e clinched a record- equalling third Euro­pean Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal vic­tory by beat­ing La Rochelle 36- 16 at St James’ Park.

S c o t l a n d s c r u m- h a l f Greig Laid­law played a key role in the win by kick­ing 18 points as Cler­mont matched Har­lequins’ feat of three Chal­lenge Cup tri­umphs in front of an English record Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal at­ten­dance of 28,438.

Mor­gan Pa r r a k i c ke d C l e r mon t i n t o a 1 3 t h - minute lead with a penalty from 30 me­tres. But i t was t o be t he France internatio­nal’s last mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion, as he was forced off with what a p p e a r e d t o b e a s e r i - ous an­kle in­jury just four min­utes later. Parra was re­placed by Laid­law, and he dou­bled Cler­mont’s lead with a short- range penalty ten min­utes later.

Ihaia West’s penalty cut the deficit but Cler­mont breached La Rochelle’s de­fence ten min­utes be­fore the break through a fine fin­ish by Damian Pe­naud, Laid­law’s con­ver­sion open­ing up a ten- point lead.

Asec­ond West penalty cut the gap to 13- 6 at the break, be­fore he added a t hird af­ter the in­ter­val. An­other Laid­law penalty re­opened a seven- point edge for Cler­mont and La Rochelle were then blown away by a ten­point burst in two min­utes as Laid­law kicked an­other penalty, then con­verted a Fritz Lee try.

U i n i At o n i o g a v e L a Rochelle hope with a con­verted try, but Wes­ley Fo­fana touched down to seal the deal for Cler­mont as they added to their Chal­lenge Cup suc­cesses in 1999 and 2007.

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