Toulouse hit hard by Clermont defeat

Clermont put themselves in pole position to finish top of the French championship on Saturday when they beat second placed Toulouse 23-11 to record their fifth successive victory and send them five points clear of their rivals.

Toulouse had a nightmare day as star winger Vincent Clerc suffered what looked like a serious knee injury in the 67th minute when he slipped while trying to tackle Aurelien Rougerie, who eased over the tryline for his second touchdown of the match.

Initial fears were that Clerc had damaged cruciate ligaments in his left knee and is certainly out of next weekend’s European Cup semi-final at London Irish.

There are also doubts over France flanker Thierry Dussautoir, who left the field early in the first-half after a collision with Clermont second row forward Jamie Cudmore.

Rougerie had opened his account in the fifth minute though a try by Yannick Nyanga in the 19th minute and a penalty by Jean-Baptiste Elissalde gave the hosts the lead for the one and only time at 8-7.

However, aside from one more penalty by Elissalde in the 42nd minute the three-time European Cup winners could not answer their opponents for whom fly-half Brock James totalled 13 points, with three penalties and two conversions for Rougerie’s tries.

Despite the defeat Toulouse look certain to make the top four and therefore a place in the play-offs where the leading four teams contest the title.   


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