Leicester go down to Clermont in Heineken Cup

Leicester Tigers were heavily beaten 30-12 by Clermont in the Heineken Cup on Sunday afternoon putting the French side in control of Pool 4.


The turning point in the match came when Leicester were trailing 16-5 and both Mani Tuilagi and George Shuter were shown yellow cards simultaneously with around 20 minutes left on the clock.


Clermont used the numbers advantage and scored a try almost immediately and scored another just as the Tigers got back to having 15 players on the field.


Leicester managed to prevent Clermont from scoring the bonus point try but also failed to win any points from the match.


The result means that Clermont have now won their last 10 Heineken Cup matches at home and their 35 consecutive victories at home in all competitions at Stade Marcel Michelin.


The Tigers dominated their hosts scrum in emphatic style and scrummaged Clermont off the park all afternoon but it wasn’t enough against a more physical and abrasive French unit around the field.


The Tigers scored the first try of the game totally against the run of play when Clermont’s fly-half Brock James had his grubber kick charged down while his side were on the attack.


Toby Flood’s fly-hack deep into the home side’s territory created confusion in the home side’s defence and saw scrum half Ben Youngs run in at the corner to give the visitors an improbable 5-3 lead.


Scrum-half Morgan Parra, who played fly-half for France during the World Cup, then calmed the home side’s nerves when he slotted over his second and third penalty to reclaim Clermont’s lead midway through the first half.


The home side then stretched their lead when burly wing Julien Malzieu barged his way through some weak tackling and crashed over from short-range to put the French side 16-5 ahead at half-time.


After the break, the Tigers were under extreme pressure and then lost two players to yellow cards, hooker George Chuter and centre Manu Tuilagi – on the 50th minute for dangerous play.


The former England hooker and the England new boy were both sin-binned for high tackles on Clermont’s Para and prop Vincent Debaty in the same attacking move and the Tigers never recovered.


Clermont took full-advantage of a 13-man Tigers and really turned the screw when impressive centre Wesley Fofana crossed for the French side’s second try midway through the second half.


The centre was a constant thorn in the Tigers side with his quick feet and physical presence and it wasn’t long before he made the hosts two-man advantage really tell midway through the second half.


Fofana rubbed salt into the wounds with his second try to add to the Tigers misery before the visitors were awarded a consolation penalty try after Clermont collapsed a scrum in the shadow of their own posts.


Final Score Clermont Auvergne 30 (16) Leicester 5 (5)


Scorers


Clermont
Tries: Malzieu, Fofana 2
Penalties: Parra 3
Conversions: Parra 3


Leicester Tigers
Tries: Youngs, Penalty try
Conversions: Flood


Man of the match:W Fofana


Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)


Teams


ASM Clermont Auvergne: L Byrne; S Sivivatu, A Rougerie [capt], W Fofana, J Malzieu; B James, M Parra; L Faure, B Kayser, D Zirakashvili, J Pierre, N Hines, G Vosloo, A Lapandry, J Bonnaire


Replacements: T Paulo, V Debaty, C Ric, J Cudmore, E Vermeulen, K Senio, D Skrela, R King


Leicester Tigers: G Murphy [capt]; H Agulla, M Smith, M Tuilagi, A Tuilagi; T Flood, B Youngs; M Ayerza, G Chuter, M Castrogiovanni, L Deacon, G Skivington, T Croft, J Salvi, T Waldrom


Replacements: R Hawkins, B Stankovich, D Cole, E Slater, S Mafi, S Harrison, B Twelvetrees, S Hamilton


With thanks to ERCrugby

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