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Clermont brush Exeter Chiefs aside to qualify

Napolioni Nalaga scored the last of Clermont's six tries

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Article Published: Saturday 12 January 2013

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)


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

Exeter Chiefs
Penalties: Steenson

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


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 Clark, Hoani Tui, Tom Hayes (c), James Hanks, Tom Johnson, James Scaysbrook, Richard Baxter.

Replacements: Jack Yeandle, Carl Rimmer, Craig Mitchell, Aly Muldowney, Dean Mumm, Will Chudley, Ignacio Mieres, Ian Whitten.

With thanks to ERCRugby.

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