Clermont Auvergne coach Vern Cotter hailed the Dragons’ fighting spirit as the French side progressed into the European Challenge Cup final.

ASM Clermont Auvergne defeated their Welsh visitors 46-29 in the last-four clash to book their place in next month’s final against England outfits Bath or Saracens.

He said: “They never lied down, made life hard for us and they deserve credit for that.

“I’m delighted we are through to the final but they certainly pushed us all the way.

“A lot of teams would have backed down with the lead we had at the break but they kept on coming and pushing us.

 “It’s a relief to be in the final and we can look forward to that now and the big occasion.

“My players deserve to be in thee and hopefully we can go on and win it now.”

Opposite number Paul Turner admitted the better side had won on the day, but was left to rue his side’s start to the game.

“We knew it would be tough and we gave our all,” said Dragons coach Turner.

“Our accuracy and set-piece was poor and we were punished and the game went away from us because of that.

“We said the first 20 minutes would be crucial and that let us down.

“It’s always hard coming back from that deficit, especially in the warm conditions.”