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Saracens 46 Clermont Auvergne 6: Cotter can't complain at cup collapse

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall hailed "a phenomenal performance" from his record-breaking team after they made Heineken Cup semi-final history at Twickenham.

The runaway Aviva Premiership leaders cruised into their first European final after crushing French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne.

Clermont head coach and Scotland chief-elect Vern Cotter said he had no complaints about the result, and Kelly Brown made a powerful argument for Cotter to include him in the national side with his efforts to spoil Clermont's breakdown flow.

Saracens never looked back after building an 18-point interval advantage through a penalty try and touchdowns by wing Chris Ashton and fly-half Owen Farrell.

Ashton's second try after the break gave him a record of 11 touchdowns in a European season, while substitutes Chris Wyles and Tim Streather also touched down, and Saracens could afford for Farrell to pass goalkicking duties to full-back Alex Goode.

England No 10 Farrell had not practised ahead of the game as he recovered from a foot injury, and Goode slotted five out of six conversions plus a penalty as Clermont were reduced to rubble. Centre Marcelo Bosch added a long-range penalty, with Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra landing two first-half strikes as Saracens posted a tournament record semi-final win.

Saracens will now face Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon or twice-European champions Munster, who meet today in Marseille, in next month's Millennium Stadium final.

"I thought it was a phenomenal performance," McCall said. "It was built on incredible effort and work-rate.

"The plan was to put them under pressure that they had not been under all season and I think we achieved that.

"We all realise that today was one of those days where everything that could have gone right went right and that today is a tremendous memory for us, but that it is also the vehicle for something hopefully bigger and better towards the end of May."

McCall paid tribute to Saracens flanker Jacques Burger, who made an astonishing 27 tackles as he continued his comeback from a career-threatening knee injury.

"This time last year it looked like it would be over for him," McCall said. "He makes an incredible sacrifice to play and he was inspirational."

Cotter said: "Technically, they hurt us quite a lot. It was pretty difficult, and we need to congratulate them. Of course the result is difficult to accept. Nothing has worked today and it was tough. It is difficult.

"The Heineken Cup is over for us, but we still have the [French] Top 14 and the season is not over. We will shift quickly to that.

"As a group, we set objectives. We move on and our next objective is the Top 14. This one is finished and we will move to the next one."

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