Clermont destroy Toulouse
Sat, 31 Aug 2013 18:09
The final score does not reflect the match itself
Clermont stretched their unbeaten home record to 61 matches with a bonus-point 38-19 victory over 19-time champions Toulouse in the Top 14 on Saturday.
Guided by Australian playmaker Brock James, Clermont outgunned by four tries to one a Toulouse side that looked decidedly frail up front.
It was a perfect response after a humbling 30-19 defeat by Top 14 newcomers Oyonnax last weekend.
Toulouse manager Guy Noves didn't think the final scoreline reflected the overall balance of the match.
"With 15 minute to go we were within touching distance of winning but we are leaving having conceded almost 40 points and without a defensive bonus point," he said.
His Clermont counterpart Vern Cotter sympathised with him.
"The final score does not reflect the match itself, far from it," said Cotter, who is in his last season before taking over as coach of Scotland.
"But we rediscovered confidence in our game in the second-half and were able to pull away."
James and Ludovic Radosavljevic each missed early penalty chances for Clermont, before the Australian finally opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
Toulouse's Lionel Beauxis responded almost immediately after Yannick Nyanga soared high at the re-start to win back possession and eventually a penalty.
Clermont flanker Julien Bardy was then yellow carded after a ruck infringement as Toulouse centre Yann David was hauled down after a 60-metre interception.
But Beauxis could only drag the penalty wide, as Toulouse tighthead prop Yohan Montes followed Bardy to the bin after a scrum collapse.
Beauxis made amends with a deft grubber kick collected by Maxime Medard for an easy five-pointer under the posts he also converted.
James notched up a second penalty to keep Clermont in the game at 10-6 and Bardy crossed soon after following some good build-up work from the flanker himself and centre Wesley Fofana.
Beauxis pulled the scores level with an early second-half penalty, however, as Bardy was denied by a great tackle by Medard at the other end.
Clermont's veteran lock Nathan Hines won the resulting line-out, the ball falling kindly for prop Thomas Domingo to cross in the corner, James on target with the conversion.
Beauxis pulled back two smart penalties to peg the home side's lead back to a single point.
James hit one of his own and then a drop-goal to calm nerves with Toulouse's depleted pack under increasing pressure.
Julien Bonnaire and Wesley Fofana put the icing on the Clermont cake when they were both on hand to finish off sweeping cross-field moves and help ensure their team's formidable home record continued unabated.
In Friday's match, Stade Francais marked their return to the refurbished Jean Bouin stadium with a crushing 38-3 victory over Biarritz.
After three years of playing their home fixtures across the city at the Charlety stadium, tries from Pierre Rabadan, Julien Arias, Jonathan Danty and Waisea Vuidravuwalu propelled Stade to a commanding win in their home opener.
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