Clermont down Bordeaux in all-French affair
REPORT: ASM Clermont Auvergne claimed a 49-33 triumph over French rivals Bordeaux-Begles at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
Jean-Marcel Buttin and Jayden Spence had given the visitors a positive start before the TOP14 leaders flexed their muscles. Noa Nakaitaci scored on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts the lead before Alexander Lapandry and Wesley Fofana scored and Vahaamahina bagged the bonus-point.
But Bordeaux fought back to claim a bonus of their own as Buttin got his second before setting up Met Talebula, and Gauthier Doubrère scored a late consolation. Clermont remain top of Pool 5 with 10 points after round two.
The Stade Marcel Michelin was stunned into silence when Bordeaux took the lead after just four minutes. A free-flowing attack had the Clermont defence scrambling, and they cracked when the ball was worked wide to Buttin, who side-stepped past Morgan Parra to score from 20 metres out.
Ian Madigan landed the conversion before Parra kicked a penalty of his own three minutes later to cut the gap to 7-3. And Parra, who had only missed two kicks all season before this match, chipped away at the Bordeaux lead with another penalty after the visitors went off their feet at a ruck.
But Clermont's comeback was halted by some more clinical play from the Begles' backline.
Madigan received the ball and found Spence with a perfectly timed short-ball. The kiwi centre sliced through and crashed over to give Madigan a simple conversion.
Parra landed a penalty to bring Clermont back to within five points, before Bordeaux wing Kobus Van Wyk was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on the home scrum-half. And they were made to pay for their indiscipline when David Strettle's deflected hack forward found its way to Nakaitaci, who picked up and dived over for his eighth try of the season.
Parra maintained his 100 percent record from the tee in the Champions Cup to add the conversion and send his men into the changing rooms at half-time with a 16-14 lead. And the TOP14 leaders took a firm grip on the game two minutes into the second-half.
A half-break from Camille Lopez moved Clermont to within five metres of the try-line, before Nakataici's loose offload was collected by Lapandy, who stretch over to make it 21-14. And Fofana got in on the act when he fended off a pair of defenders to break on the outside to score the hosts' third try.
Vahaamahina was shunted over for the bonus-point score, before a late flurry of tries.
Buttin grabbed his second and setup a bonus-point try of their own for Talebulama after Strettle collected his own kick to score. And Timani put the gloss on the win with a try in the 75th minute before Doubrère crashed over.
For ASM Clermont Auvergne:
Tries: Nakaitaci, Lapandry, Fofana, Vahaamahina, Strettle, Timani
Cons: Parra 4, Fernandez
Pens: Parra 3
Tries: Buttin (2), Spence, Talebula, Doubrere
Cons: Madigan 2, Beauxis 2
ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Camille Gerondeau, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bardy, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Clément Ric, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Judicaël Cancoriet, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Pato Fernandez, 23 Aurélien Rougerie.
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Metuisela Talebulamaijaina, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Joe Wakacegu, 11 Kobus Van Wyk, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Sébastien Taofifenua.
Replacements: 16 Benat Auzqui, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 19 Ole Avei, 20 Tristan Labouteley, 21 Julien Audy, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Jean-Baptiste Dubié.
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Tim Wigglesworth (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)