Updated: Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:33 | By Agence France-Presse

Clermont edge Quins for European Cup quarter-final spot

Clermont overcame a 10-point half-time deficit to claim a 16-13 victory over Harlequins on Saturday and secure a place in the quarter-finals of the European Cup.


Clermont edge Quins for European Cup quarter-final spot

Clermont Auvergne full back Jean-Marcel Buttin runs through the Harlequins defence during the European Cup rugby union match at The Stoop in Twickenham, southwest of London on January 11, 2014. Clermont won the game 16-13

The win meant the French giants will top Pool 4, having already amassed 19 points from their five games, seven ahead of second-placed Harlequins with a game in hand.

Clermont came out firing at the Twickenham Stoop in south London and a frantic start saw fly-half Brock James notching up his first penalty in the third minute.

After No 8 Fritz Lee broke away, James landed an inch-perfect cross-kick but Fijian winger Napolioni Nalaga couldn't hold it with the line begging, Lee then putting down a try-scoring pass from the resulting line-out.

A piece of individual brilliance from Quins' England scrum-half Danny Care then lit up the Stoop.

Care latched on to an unlikely chip ahead from skipper Chris Robshaw but found himself bound for touch at a lick.

Carefully avoiding the whitewash, Care managed a blind one-handed pass behind him, which Matt Hooper caught for a clear run-in.

The momentum swung the way of the London club, Evans booting a penalty after his own slick break, with Clermont left to rue their missed chances.

The French club opened the second-half just as they wanted, a cruel bounce from a Morgan Parra chip leaving Quins full-back Mike Brown stranded and Nalaga free to hack through and dot down for a try.

Clermont's pressing paid off when former All Black winger Sitiveni Sivivatu crossed with eight minutes to play, to draw the scores level, James unable to nail the tricky conversion.

The Australian made amends shortly after with a simpler penalty shot to hand the French giants a hard-fought victory.

In Pool 5 action, two-time Cup winners Leicester withstood an early onslaught from Italian outfit Treviso to run out 34-19 bonus-point winners.

Flanker Julian Salvi and winger Miles Benjamin each scored a brace of tries, with ex-Perpignan half-back David Mele pitching in with three penalties and a conversion.

Treviso had taken a shock lead through a Lorenzo Cittadini try, converted by Mat Berquist, who also booted four penalties.

The result means that Leicester face Ulster - 27-16 winners over Montpellier on Friday - next week in a winner-takes-all game, the Irish province currently leading the table on 22 points, two ahead of the English club.

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