Damien Chouly’s last-gasp lineout steal ensured there would be no Munster comeback as Clermont stunned Thomond Park with a 16-9 win.
In doing so they became the first French team to win in the Limerick fortress, following in the footsteps of Leicester and Ulster as the only teams to do so in European competition.
First-half tries from Fritz Lee and Wesley Fofana proved the difference in the end, as Clermont dominated the opening 40.
They didn’t actually score a point in a scrappy second period, but Munster rarely looked like scoring, even when they spent extended periods in the Clermont half.
Even at the death, where they have broken the hearts of so many visiting teams, they could not steal an unlikely draw, with Chouly leaping highest to wrest away a lineout five metres from his line.
It was no more than Clermont deserved, as they won the battle at the gainline, and nullified Munster’s mauling game, with a display, in the first-half at least, that was reminiscent of their win at Leinster a few years ago.
They started the game in ideal fashion, beating Munster at the own game with a try in the very first minute. After earning a lineout from five metres out, they set up a rolling maul, with Munster struggling to slow them, and Lee peeled off to go over in the corner.
The excellent Camille Lopez saw his touchline conversion come back off the post, and was off-target again from long-range a few minutes later. Ian Keatley kept Munster in touch with a penalty but Clermont got the second try their enterprise deserved.
It started when Aur