Ruthless Clermont earn bonus point Exeter Chiefs victory

Jonathan Davies bashes through a tackle on his way to the tryline

Clermont Auvergne put in a ruthless display as they smashed English side Exeter Chiefs 42-10 in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Stade Marcel-Michelin.

Last year’s runner up Clermont outscored Exeter Chiefs by five tries to one earning them the bonus point for the victory.

Despite a bright start, in which Exeter kept the ball for almost three minutes from the kick-off and earned a penalty from Gareth Steenson, the Chiefs were then on the end of a hiding as last season’s beaten finalists got back on course for another stab at the title in Pool 2.

Even though the home side lost outside half Camille Lopez to the first of the game’s four yellow cards after only three minutes, Clermont turned on the style to end those 10 minutes with a 13-3 lead.

Successive errors from the Chiefs led to Morgan Parra kicking a simple penalty, Scott Spedding then launched a massive kick from a metre inside his own half and then former England wing Dave Strettle raced 30 metres to the posts to score.

With Parra adding the conversion points to Strettle’s third try in Europe this season the home side were on the march early doors and obviously intent on avenging their 31-14 defeat at Sandy Park last weekend. The little scrum half then added a penalty to stretch the lead to 16-3.

The Chiefs lost No 8 Thomas Waldrom to the sin-bin for ripping the ball out of the arms of a Clermont player on the floor and the visitors paid a heavy price for his loss. By the time he returned they had conceded two tries – Alexandre Lapandry and Fritz Lee – and 12 points and were 25 points adrift of their hosts.

There were two more tries for the home fans to savour before the end – their last home defeat in the European Cup came against Sale Sharks in 2008 – with giant lock Sebastien Vahaamahina driving over and then Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies crossing in the corner.

The Ospreys, who top the Pool with 12 points despite their defeat in Bordeaux at the weekend, had hit back to pick up two losing bonus points in Clermont, but the Chiefs could only manage one try at the death – and that after Clermont had lost two players to the sin-bin.

Italian referee Marius Mitrea sent Vito Kolelishvili and Clement Ric to the sidelines for their parts in pulling down two Chiefs’ driving line-outs. Against 13 men the Aviva Premiership side were able to push Tom Johnson over for a try which Will Holley converted to give them a minor boost five minutes from time.

Final Score Clermont 42 (21) Exeter Chiefs 10 (3)

Scorers

Clermont
Tries – Strettle, Lapandry, Lee, Vahaamahina, Davies
Pen – Parra (2), Spedding
Con – Parra (3), Lopez
Drop –

Exeter Chiefs
Tries – Johnson
Pen – Steenson
Con – Hooley
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy),
Assistant ref: Stefano Penne (Italy),
Assistant ref: Simone Boaretto (Italy),
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy),
Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)

Teams

ASM Clermont Auvergne: Scott Spedding; David Strettle, Jonathan Davies, Hosea Gear, Noa Nakaitaci; Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra (c); Vincent Debaty, Benjamin Kayser, Daniel Kotze, Jamie Cudmore, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Vito Kolelishvili, Alexandre Lapandry, Fritz Lee

Replacements: John Ulugia, Thomas Domingo, Clément Ric, Paul Jedrasiak, Damien Chouly, Ludovic Radoslavjevic , Pato Fernandez, Albert Vulivuli

Exeter Chiefs: Phil Dollman; Matt Jess, Jack Nowell, Ian Whitten, James Short; Gareth Steenson, Dave Lewis; Carl Rimmer, Jack Yeandle (c), Tom Francis, Geoff Parling, Damian Welch, Don Armand, Julian Salvi, Tom Waldrom

Replacements: Elvis Taione, Alec Hepburn, Moray Low, Mitch Lees, Tom Johnson, Haydn Thomas, Will Hooley, Michele Campagnaro

With thanks to EPCRugby

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