Clermont march on at Oyonnax

Date published: September 5 2015

Clermont continued their perfect start to the season with a third bonus-point win, 41-24 away at Oyonnax.

Despite their World Cup absentees, Clermont have started the season in flying form, and proved far too good for Oyonnax.

They ran in five tries in total to stretch their lead at the top of the table, scoring the crucial fifth try with the final play of the game.

It was Oyonnax who opened the scoring with a penalty from Nicky Robinson after just three minutes, but that was quickly cancelled out by Camille Lopez.

Robinson knocked over a second penalty, however Clermont then stepped things up, scoring their first try through Hosea Gear. Playing at inside centre, the former All Black burst through after an initial charge from Fritz Lee had taken Clermont up to the Oyonnax line.

Oyonnax took advantage of the visitors' indiscipline to retake the lead through two Robinson penalties but from then on it was one-way traffic.

After a long period of possession, Albert Vulivuli was the next to cross, showing his quick feet to skip out of one tackle and cross for the try.

Lopez converted once more to make it 17-12, and they still had time to run in a third try before half-time. From a scrum five metres out Clermont spread the ball, and Lopez slipped the ball inside to David Strettle for the easy score.

With the conversion, Clermont led 24-12 at the break, and they stretched that advantage with a second Lopez penalty early in the second half.

Their fourth try looked to have wrapped up the five points, Lopez producing a perfect cross-kick for Adrien Planté to score in the corner, with the conversion making it 34-12.

Oyonnax were down to 14 at that point, Pierrick Gunther having been sin-binned for pulling the hair of Fritz Lee. However it was a sin-binning for the Clermont number eight that turned the tide.

Lee was harshly yellow-carded for a late tackle on Regis Lespinas ten minutes from time and Oyonnax took full advantage. Twice they turned to their maul from close range, with hooker Jérémie Maurouard crossing for a brace that looked set to deny Clermont their bonus point.

However Clermont kept going, with youngster Alivereti Raka scoring with the final play of the game after a storming run from Paul Jedrasiak had carried them deep into Oyonnax territory.

The scorers:

For Oyonnax:
Maurouard 2
Con: Lespinas
Pens: Robinson 4
Yellow Card: Gunther

For Clermont:
Gear, Vulivuli, Strettle, Planté, Raka
Cons: Lopez 4, Fernandez
Pens: Lopez 2
Yellow Card: Lee

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Dug Codjo, 13 Alaska Taufa, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Silvere Tian, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Fabien Cibray, 8 Florian Faure, 7 Olivier Missoup, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Fabrice Metz, 4 George Robson, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Thomas Bordes, 1 Laurent Delboulbes. 
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Antoine Guillamon, 18 Mickael De Marco, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Regis Lespinas, 22 Vincent Martin, 23 Stanley Wright.

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Hosea Gear, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Camille Gerondeau, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Marthinus Riann stefanus van der Westhuizen, 1 Raphael Chaume. 
Replacements: 16 Pierre Rude, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Paul Jedrasiak, 19 Judicael Cancoriet, 20 Charlie Cassang, 21 Patricio Fernandez Fiant, 22 Alivereti Raka, 23 Clement Ric.

Venue: Stade Charles Mathon, Oyonnax
Referee: Cedric Marchat