Clermont end Leinster’s Heineken Cup unbeaten run

Former Challenge Cup champions brought an end to defeding Heineken Cup champion Leinster’s unbeaten run in Europe with a 15-12 victory in Pool 5 at Stade Marcel Michelin.


Double champions Leinster had gone through the Heineken Cup unbeaten in their last 17 matches but that record has been halted.


Clermont’s win – their 51st successive home win and who were the last side to beat Leinster in 2010 – puts them five points clear of the Irish side ahead of the return fixture in Dublin next weekend.


Morgan Parra gave Clermont a 9-6 lead by the half hour mark with three penalties while his Leinster counterpart Jonathan Sexton – playing his 100th competitive game for the Irish province – converted two.


Sexton pulled them level in the 33rd minute as Leinster dominated the game without being able to turn it into tries.


Referee Nigel Owens was forced to give the two captains Leo Cullen and Aurelien Rougerie a warning that he would be forced to sin bin someone soon with the number of infringements taking place in the teams 22.


It was from the latest offence that Parra restored the hosts lead with another penalty for 12-9 and Australian fly-half Brock James dropped a goal on the stroke of half-time to give Clermont a 15-9 lead.


Sexton reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute as Leinster dominated again, but still came up short in crossing the line – replacement hooker Richardt Strauss not helping with three terrible throws at line-outs close to the Clermont line.


Final Score Clermont Auvergne 15 (15) Leinster 12 (9)


Scorers


Clermont
Penalties: Parra 4
Drop-goals: James


Leinster
Penalties: Sexton 4


Match Officials
Referee:
Nigel Owens (Wal),
Assistant ref: Sean Brickell (Wal),
Assistant ref: Jonathan Mason (Wal),
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wal),
Citing Commisioner: Alan Mansell (Eng)


Teams


ASM Clermont Auvergne: Lee Byrne; Sitiveni Sivivatu, Aurelien Rougerie (c), Wesley Fofana, Napolioni Nalaga; Brock James, Morgan Parra; Vincent Debaty, Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili, Jamie Cudmore, Nathan Hines, Julien Bonnaire, Alexandre Lapandry, Damien Chouly.


Replacements: Ti’I Paulo, Raphael Chaume, Daniel Kotze, Julien Pierre, Julien Bardy, Ludovic Radosavljevic, David Skrela, Regan King.


Leinster Rugby: Ian Madigan; Fergus McFadden, Gordon D’Arcy, Andrew Goodman, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (c), Damien Browne, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.


Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Shane Jennings, Eoin Reddan, Fionn Carr, Andrew Conway.

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