Clermont impressive at Brive

Date published: August 23 2014

Camille Lopez kicked 18 points on his first Top 14 start for Clermont as his side claimed a 21-6 win away at rivals Brive.

Camille Lopez kicked 18 points on his first Top 14 start for Clermont as his side claimed a 21-6 win away at rivals Brive.

Having struggled at home last weekend against Grenoble, Clermont looked in better shape this week, dominating up front and grinding their way past a Brive side that only lost once at home all last season.

Lopez, who arrived from Perpignan over the off-season, looks to be back to his best now he's fully recovered from an ACL tear, and was flawless from the kicking tee after taking over from Morgan Parra.

It was a difficult afternoon for Brive, who were completely overpowered in the scrum, and struggled for go-forward all game.

Clermont had the chance to take an early lead when Arnaud Mignardi's dived in at a ruck, but Parra's penalty came back off a post.

Brive failed to clear properly though and immediately found themselves under pressure facing a five-metre scrum, conceding a penalty which Parra slotted to make it 3-0 after six minutes.

Brive could have levelled things when Julien Bonnaire was caught offside, but Gaetan Germain's penalty form halfway dropped just short.

The visitors were looking good though, and had clearly targeted Sisa Koyamaibole, knocking him back on his first three straight carries.

A second penalty at a scrum gave Parra another shot at goal, but in windy conditions his kick skewed well wide.

And Brive took advantage to draw level when Damien Chouly was penalised for tackling the lifter in a lineout, Germain making no mistake.

It got better for them a minute later when Davit Zirakashvili was sin-binned for a late, high tackle on Elia Radikedike.

Brive had the momentum and got their rolling maul working, earning a penalty which Germain converted to put his side in front for the first time.

Despite being a man down, Clermont could have scored the first try, with Napolioni Nalaga in the clear down the left, but Alfie Mafi made a great covering tackle to force the Fijian into touch.

The game was getting fractious, with Clermont's Viktor Kolelishvili and Brive's Guillaume Ribes getting a talking to from referee Alexandre Ruiz.

Clermont had dealt well with their sin-binning, and even managed to level things with a 7-man scrum, Lopez taking over the kicking duties and making no mistake.

Zirakashvili made his return at the next restart, and it was Brive who were immediately a man down when Petrus Hauman was penalised for taking out Aurelien Rougerie in the air.

And with four minutes left in the half, Clermont moved back in front, Lopez slotting a drop goal with his team on the attack after a powerful run from Nalaga.

Clermont led at the break, and made the better start to the second period, with another penalty from Lopez making it 12-6 as Brive got back up to 15 men.

And they continued to dominate, with two more penalties from Lopez who was taking the game away from Brive.

The home side needed a reaction and it came after a number of powerful runs, Clermont eventually conceded a penalty and Brive went for the lineout.

A first attempt at a rolling maul earned another penalty, but when they tried again the ball popped out giving Clermont the chance to clear.

The visitors were penalised at the scrum though and found themselves under pressure once more. But Chouly contested perfectly to steal the lineout and keep Brive out.

It was a body blow for Brive, who soon found themselves back down to 14 when replacement Damien Jourdain was sin-binned for a series of scrum infringements. Lopez was again on target to stretch the lead to 15.

And the low point came with ten minutes remaining when Brive were humiliated in a scrum, being driven back to their own ten-metre line from a scrum in the Clermont 22.

They did fight back though in the last five minutes, first with a stunning break from new man Benito Masilevu, followed by a second run from Louis Acosta, which led to a sin-binning for Zac Guildford who killed the ball in a ruck.

The scorers:

For Brive:
Cons: Germain 2
Yellow cards: Hauman, Jourdain

For Clermont:
Pens: Parra, Lopez 5
Drops: Lopez
Yellow cards: Zirakashvili

Brive: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Alfi Mafi, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Thomas Sanchou , 11 Elia Radikedike, 10 Thomas Laranjeira, 9 Jean baptiste Pejoine, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Petrus Hauman, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Goderzi Shvelidze.
Replacements: 16 Louis Acosta, 17 Johannes Coetzee, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Hugues Briatte, 20 Damien Neveu, 21 Riaan Swanepoel , 22 Benito Masilevu, 23 Damien Jourdain.

Clermont: 15 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Loic Jacquet, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume.
Replacements:16 John Ulugia, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Brock James, 22 Benson Stanley, 23 Daniel Kotze.

Date: Saturday, August 23
Venue: Stade Amédée Domenech
Kick-off: 14.45 local (13.45 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant referees: Stéphane Boyer, Christophe Malterre