Clermont brush Exeter Chiefs aside to qualify

Clermont Auvergne cruised into the last eight of the Heineken Cup with a 46-3 hammering of Aviva Premiership club Exeter Chiefs at Stade Marcel Michelin.


Clermont top Pool 5 in the Heineken Cup which also contains current double champions Leinster who still alive but can be knocked out by Munster.

ASM Clermont Auvergne are on the verge of claiming their first home quarter-final
in the Heineken Cup after extending their unbeaten run to five games in Pool
5.

Exeter Chiefs became the latest victims at Stade Marcel Michelin as Clermont
clinched top spot in the Pool with a third bonus point triumph that included
six tries to take their tally to date to 19.

Even though reigning champions Leinster picked up a full-house of points in
their 33-14 home win over the Scarlets, Aurelien Rougerie’s team have already
picked up 23 points and look set for a home tie in the last eight.

If they can achieve that – they travel to face the Scarlets, who have yet to
win a game, in Round 6 – it will be the first time in five quarter-finals they
will have the advantage of playing at home – and that is a huge advantage.

The big win over the Chiefs, who now cannot reach the last eight, extended
their unbeaten run at Stade Marcel Michelin to 54 games.

Exeter were eliminated from the Heineken Cup after being thrashed 46-3 by Clermont
Auvergne, who booked their spot in the quarter-finals.

The French side completely overwhelmed their opponents, running in six tries
as they cruised to victory at Stade Marcel Michelin, extending their unbeaten
home run to 54 matches in the process. The Chiefs made a positive start but
failed to convert their early pressure into points as Gareth Steenson missed
two goal attempts in the opening six minutes.

Morgan Parra wasn’t off target as he gave his side a 12th minute lead and then
Regan King opened up the defence with a brilliant one-handed off-load to allow
co-centre Wesley Fofana to score the first try.

Parra converted, added a penalty and then full back Jean-Marcel Buttin claimed
the first of his two tries. Steenson kicked a penalty to make it 20-3 at the
break.

No 8 Damien Chouly grabbed the third try before David Skrela secured the bonus
point when he crashed over from close range. Buttin then grabbed his second
try before Napolioni Nalaga completed the rout with try number six.

Parra ended with 14 points and Skrela also added a conversion.

Having suffered heartbreak at the semi-final stage last season, it looks as
though Clermont are targeting a trip to Dublin for a first final at the end
of May.

Final Score Clermont Auvergne 46 (20) Exeter 3 (3)


Scorers


Clermont
Tries: Fofana, Buttin 2, Chouly, Skrela, Nalaga
Penalties: Parra 2
Conversions: Parra 4, Skrela


Exeter Chiefs
Penalties: Steenson


Match Officials
Referee
: Nigel Owens (Wal),
Assistant ref: Neil Hennessy (Wal),
Assistant ref: Jonathan Mason (Wal),
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wal),
Citing Commisioner: Eugene Ryan (Ire)


Teams


ASM Clermont Auvergne: Jean-Marcel Buttin; Sitiveni Sivivatu, Regan King, Wesley Fofana, Napolioni Nalaga; Brock James, Morgan Parra; Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili, Jamie Cudmore, Nathan Hines, Julien Bonnaire (c), Julien Bardy, Damien Chouly.


Replacements: Ti’I Paulo, Vincent Debaty, Daniel Kotze, Loic Jacquet, Alexandre Lapandry, Ludovic Radosavljevic, David Skrela, Benson Stanley.


Exeter Chiefs: Luke Arscott; Gonzalo Camacho, Phil Dollman, Jason Shoemark, Matt Jess; Gareth Steenson, Kevin Barrett; Ben Moon, Neil Cla

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