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Summary

  1. Clermont 13-9 Saracens FT
  2. Fofana try; 1 con, 2 James pens for Clermont
  3. Hodgson pen and DG, Farrell pen for Saracens
  4. Saracens only English team in last four
  5. Holders Toulon play Leinster in second semi-final on Sunday
  6. Use audio icon to listen

Live Reporting

By James Standley

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    That's your lot...

    No denying Saracens gave their all, but in the end they were outgunned by a Clermont side intent on proving they are the best club in Europe.

    Two years ago they were sucker-punched in the final by Toulon, who also beat Saracens in the 2014 final.

    Toulon play tomorrow against Leinster - between them they have won five of the past six European titles - to see if they can make it three in a row.

    Or will Clermont, the nearly side of European rugby, finally win the title that has eluded them so far?

    Join me tomorrow for the second semi-final, until then au revoir.

  2. Full-time

    Clermont 13-9 Saracens

    ...but Clermont safely claim the throw through the towering Sebastien Vahaamahina as he rises highest and the French side bang the ball into touch.

  3. Post update

    Clermont 13-9 Saracens

    C'est fini, surely. Clermont's scrum wins a penalty and they bang it into touch - but although we are in the red time-wise we will have the line-out...

  4. Post update

    Clermont 13-9 Saracens

    41,000 yellow and blue-clad fans pogo in unison in Saint-Etienne - the Clermont fans are a riot of colour and noise. Magnifique.

    Saracens trying, trying to go from deep, Bosch ignores an overlap... and when it finally goes Brits has a defender right in his face and the pass to Ashton is forwards.

  5. Post update

    Clermont 13-9 Saracens

    Clermont Auvergne fans

    A spine-tingling rendition of La Marseillaise rings round the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard - Clermont's fans think they are going back to the final two years after they lost to Toulon.

  6. Post update

    Clermont 13-9 Saracens

    Time running our for Saracens, they just can't establish themselves in Clermont territory.

  7. Penalty (James)

    Clermont 13-9 Saracens

    Once again Saracens throw numbers into the ruck, but this time they infringe and Clermont have a shot at goal as big Billy is pinged for holding on... and James makes no mistake.

    Saint-Etienne is en fete at the moment as Clermont's travelling fans dial up the volume.

  8. Post update

    Clermont 10-9 Saracens

    Mako Vunipola

    Trying to shift Vunipola off the ball is akin to a mosquito headbutting an elephant - the big man doesn't even seem to notice as he stands his ground imperiously.

    Sarries still trail though, they need to be playing in Clermont's 22, not their own...

  9. Post update

    Clermont 10-9 Saracens

    So, where's your money eh? This is going to the wire...

    Big carry from Wales Jonathan Davies, but when Clermont try to bully forwards round the fringes, big Billy Vunipola dominates the breakdown and wins the penalty.

  10. Penalty (Farrell)

    Clermont 10-9 Saracens

    Big, big, big chance - you feel Saracens must get something out of this... and the Clermont front row promptly folds like a paper napkin at the scrum.

    Up steps Farrell... and he gets it - just...

    I thought that had missed if I'm honest, but the replay shows it was good, clipping the inside of the flag on top of the sticks as it went through.

  11. Post update

    Clermont 10-6 Saracens

    Big chance goes begging for Saracens. Nalaga shows all the finesse of a fridge as he spills the ball a few metres from his line trying to run out of defence, but Burger knocks on.

    At least the Londoners have a scrum about seven metres from the Clermont line.

    It was all set up by a tremendous run and kick from Saracens full-back Goode, looking classy with ball in hand as ever.

  12. Post update

    Clermont 10-6 Saracens

    The defenders are dominating the breakdown at the moment - 6ft 8in Clermont lock Vahaamahina the predator winning the penalty there.

  13. Replacement

    Clermont 10-6 Saracens

    Owen Farrell is back after three months out with the injury he suffered in the pool game against Clermont earlier this year, Charlie Hodgson making way at 10.

  14. Post update

    Clermont 10-6 Saracens

    Clermont are looking dangerous as they send their power runners into the heart of the Saracens defence but the breakdown work of the Londoners is superb and they win the latest in a series of penalties as they limpet onto the ball at the ruck.

  15. Replacement

    The changes are being rung out there at the moment - among them Schalk Brits on for Jamie George at hooker for Saracens.

  16. Post update

    Clermont 10-6 Saracens

    Alex Goode

    That try has had an effect on the game like throwing potassium into water - suddenly the action is fizzing and sparking all over the place.

  17. Try (Fofana)

    Clermont 10-6 Saracens

    Wesley Fofana goes over for Clermont Auvergne

    Class, and that's what we've come to expect from Clermont.

    Damien Chouly gets things going with a big drive off the back of a scrum and when the ball goes wide Brock James produces a deft chip worthy of Jordan Spieth and France centre Wesley Fofana takes on the run and dives joyously over.

    James adds the extras and Clermont lead for the first time today.

  18. Post update

    Clermont 3-6 Saracens

    Ready for the second half? Then let's begin as Brock James does the honours.

    Ashton claims, Clermont swarm him, drive over and win the put-in at the ruck. The Clermont fans are back in full voice 'allez, allez...'

  19. Get involved via #bbcrugby

    Clermont 3-6 Saracens

    This is tight. Will Clermont come alive? Can Saracens continue to put the squeeze on? Let me know your views using #bbcrugby.

  20. Get involved via #bbcrugby

    Brian Mcquest: ‏Not impressed by Clermont so far, Saracens can win it

  21. Post update

    Half-time summary graphic
  22. Get involved via #bbcrugby

    Small Man Peaky: Saracens doing very well. Saints were out of it by this point. Clermont not looking very confident. Itoje and BV frightening.

  23. Half-time

    Ludovic Radoslavjevic of Clermont Auvergne

    It always threatened to be tight, and so it is proving. Saracens are swarming up in defence to halt the big Clermont runners and with the French side unable to generate much momentum, the rhythm has gone out of their game.

    In the middle of the half it looked as though they had gained the upper hand, but under 'cussed' in the dictionary it says 'see Saracens' and a combination of their sheer bloody-mindedness, the power of the Vunipola brothers and Itoje with ball in hand, and Clermont misdeeds mean it is the Londoners who take a narrow lead into the changing rooms at the break.

  24. Missed penalty (Hodgson)

    Clermont 3-6 Saracens

    The Clermont crowd do not like that - a chorus of boos rains down from the stands as the French team's pack is penalised for walking round the side at a scrum... but Hodgson's kick slides wide.

  25. Penalty (Hodgson)

    Clermont 3-6 Saracens

    Sarries win a line-out, drive and Vahaamahina illegally enters the maul at the side...

    Up steps Hodgson from a similar position to his last attempt, and this time he finds the target. Saracens lead.

  26. Post update

    Clermont 3-3 Saracens

    Mesmeric from Saracens full-back Alex Goode - he has the feet of a conjuror, ghosting past three men to get the Londoners into the Clermont 22, but another attack comes to a halt.

    No lack of attacking intent out there, but defences are still on top.

  27. Post update

    Clermont 3-3 Saracens

    Tackling Maro Itoje in full flight looks much like taking a sledgehammer to the shoulder...

    And he's still only 20.

  28. Missed penalty (Hodgson)

    Clermont 3-3 Saracens

    Here comes Ashton on the counter, he slides through a gap and Pierre fails to roll away from the tackle.

    Up steps Hodgson... and his kick falls just wide.

  29. Penalty (James)

    Clermont 3-3 Saracens

    Clermont enjoying the best of the territory and possession at the moment and as they hammer away they earn a penalty as Jim Hamilton goes off his feet at a ruck.

    Up steps the sometimes flaky Clermont fly-half James, and a nervy kick just goes over off a post.

  30. Get involved via #bbcrugby

    Jeff Mealiff: What a joke, clearly a no arm tackle by Ashton, that's a yellow and a penalty try

    Callum Johnstone: ‏Referee and assistants have had a shocker there, a simple decision missed! #bbcrugby

    Nye Williams: Terrible TMO work - has to be penalty try & even maybe a yellow for Ashton. Liam Williams paid a similar price for Wales vs. SA

    Yep Nye, cost Wales that long-awaited win...

  31. No try (Nalaga)

    Clermont 0-3 Saracens

    Fantastic noise from the Clermont fans as they rumble to within three metres. The ball goes wide, and is Nalaga in?

    Clermont fizz the ball out to the winger but although Nalaga smashes though Goode, Ashton just knocks him into touch.

    The television match official correctly rules the Fijian failed to get the ball down, but Ashton used no arms in the tackle and is very lucky not to be penalised - that looked like a penalty try to me.

  32. Post update

    Clermont 0-3 Saracens

    It's very messy at the line-out - neither side able to get the pistons working smoothly. Saracens knock-on... at the scrum Clermont on the march and they win the penalty - James to go for touch... and finds it deep inside the Saracens 22.

  33. Drop-goal (Hodgson)

    Clermont 0-3 Saracens

    Charlie Hodgson scores a drop goal for Saracens

    Boom! Big carry from Mako Vunipola into the Clermont defence.

    A couple of phases later it's baby brother Billy trucking it up. He sucks in the defence and Charlie Hodgson strokes over a drop-goal. First blood Sarries.

  34. Post update

    Clermont 0-0 Saracens

    Attacking line-out for Saracens just outside the Clermont 22... Hooker Jamie George promptly misses his man with the throw. Frustration for the English side.

  35. Post update

    Clermont 0-0 Saracens

    Blubber wobbles as the front rows collide at a scrum.

    Clermont secure the ball and Brock James pins Saracens back into their 22 with a pin-point kick.

  36. Post update

    Clermont 0-0 Saracens

    Penalty for Saracens at the first scrum... they kick deep but miss touch. Careless, and Nick Abendanon's clearing kick eats up the ground.

  37. Post update

    Clermont 0-0 Saracens

    Stats graphic

    Clermont are one of the most potent attacking teams in Europe this season, Saracens prefer to back their defence and kicking game before cutting loose...

  38. Post update

    Clermont 0-0 Saracens

    The Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is a sea of Clermont yellow - not surprising given Saint-Etienne is little more than an hour east of Clermont.

    The French side press early and fly-half Brock James cloths a drop-goal wide of the sticks.

  39. Get involved via #bbcrugby

    John McEnerney: Clermont won't be caught cold by Sarries like last season, if Sarries can hold on they could sneak but CA are relentless at the moment

  40. Post update

    Clermont 0-0 Saracens

    Charlie Hodgson sends it deep and we're under way in Saint-Etienne...

  41. Post update

    One to watch

    Maro Itoje

    My man to watch is Saracens' forward Maro Itoje. The former captain of England's Under-20 World Junior Championship-winning team is equally at home at either second row or blind-side flanker.

    Today he plays at six - personally, I believe that to be the position from which he can have maximum impact, and at age 20 this is his chance to show he is going to be a major player for club and country for a decade and more to come.

  42. Post update

    Typically of French sides these days, Clermont are the usual array of star-studded jerseys from around the world, although they have a stronger French flavour than some of their compatriots.

    Ex-England full-back Nick Abendanon pulled Northampton to pieces in the last eight and Fiji winger Napolioni Nalaga is as potent a finisher as exists in the world game, while Wales' Jonathan Davies and France's Wesley Fofana form a classy centre partnership.

    Up front, big Canadian Jamie Cudmore brings the grunt, flanker Julien Bonnaire the brain...

  43. Post update

    Quade Cooper is tackled by Brad Barritt

    Let's have a look at Sarries first. The Londoners are captained by defensive lynch-pin Brad Barritt - anyone who saw his heroics in England's win over Australia in November will need no reminding of his qualities.

    But for those who didn't, think brick wall, and one that comes actively looking for you - the picture above will give you the right idea.

    England number eight Billy Vunipola will have a big role to play if Sarries are to match Clermont physically, while veteran fly-half Charlie Hodgson is the man tasked with getting them in the right areas to put pressure on the French side.

  44. Team news

    Clermont Auvergne: Abendanon; Nakaitaci, Davies, Fofana, Nalaga; James, Radosavljevic; Debaty, Kayser, Zirakashvili, Cudmore, Vahaamahina, Bonnaire, Bardy, Chouly.

    Replacements: Ulugia, Chaume, Ric, Pierre, Lapandry, Parra, Lopez, Rougerie.

    Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Bosch, Barritt, Wyles; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Du Plessis, Kruis, J Hamilton, Itoje, Burger, B Vunipola.

    Replacements: Brits, Gill, Johnston, Brown, Wray, de Kock, Farrell, Strettle.

    Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

  45. Get involved via #bbcrugby

    And how about having your say? Lord knows there's plenty of other stuff to attract your attention today, including association football, something called 'snooker' and men practising driving around a desert in cars.

    But why not ping me a tweet at #bbcrugby and there's a good chance you'll get to see your name right here on the BBC website in traditional black and white. Tempting hey?

  46. BBC coverage

    In addition to my chitchat you can follow today's match through 5 live sports extra's commentary by clicking the live tab at the top of the page.

    Chris Jones and ex-England fly-half Paul Grayson are the men on the scene...

  47. Post update

    The weekend starts with Clermont v Saracens in Saint-Etienne today, before the European Champions Cup circus heads south to Marseille for Sunday's match.

    That features two-time defending champions Toulon and three-time winners Leinster, who between them have been European champions five times in the past six years.

    Meanwhile, our first semi-final is a repeat of last year's record-breaking encounter at Twickenham, when Saracens took Clermont apart with a record 46-6 victory...

  48. Post update

    Salford Quays is, however, doing its best impression of the Barcelona waterfront, with glorious sun glinting off the water in the docks under a cloudless blue sky: 'Dos cervezas por favor.'

    No really. It's quite beautiful outside, so naturally we've pulled down the shades and I'm sitting under strip lights staring at a computer screen - good thing we've got some top-notch rugby coming our way!

  49. Post update

    Clermont Auvergne fans in Saint-Etienne

    I am speaking French not to prove that I am a cosmopolitan man of the world - never in doubt, I hear you say in unison - but because we are in the sunny south of France for this weekend's semi-finals.

    I'm not of course, I'm in the BBC Sports Centre at Media City in what people would have you believe is the perpetually damp north west of England.

  50. Post update

    So then; new competition, new contenders?

    Er, hardly.

    The semi-finals contain three of the four from last season - Saracens, Clermont and two-time defending champions Toulon - plus Leinster.

    And the Irish province not only won three of the last six Heineken Cups but after missing out in 2014, duly sated their ravenous hunger for European silverware by winning the second-tier Challenge Cup.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?

  51. Post update

    Welcome...

    It's the semi-finals of the inaugural European Champions Cup, the re-engineered jewel in the European club calendar which promised to be a bigger, shinier and altogether more competitive version of its predecessor the Heineken Cup.

    Out went four teams as the tournament was trimmed to 20, in came ruthless competition in the Pro 12 as its four competing countries were only guaranteed one entrant each alongside the top six (or seven, but let's not complicate this) from the English Premiership and French Top 14.

    It was a new chapter of European rugby and now we're approaching the final pages of this page-turner of a first edition...