Bordeaux-Bègles and Clermont couldn’t be separated at the Matmut Atlantique on Sunday, with their contest finishing in a 23-23 draw.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a tight contest and although UBB controlled the early exchanges and led 14-3 at half-time, the visitors fought back to draw level at 17-17 early in the second half.
And although the hosts regained the lead twice after that, Clermont clawed their way back on both occasions and eventually secured the draw thanks to a late Stephen Brett penalty.
The result means Clermont failed in their bid to overtake La Rochelle at the top of the table while Bordeaux-Bègles are still in seventh position.
The home side made a terrific start and held a 14-0 lead by the 20th minute after Luke Braid and Yann Lesgourgues scored tries. Braid rounded off a flowing move in the ninth minute and 10 minutes later, Lesgourgues powered his way over the try-line from a driving maul.
Hickey converted both tries before Brett scored Clermont’s only points of the half via the kicking tee in the 35th minute.
Clermont upped the ante after the break and three minutes after the restart, Benson Stanley crossed for their first try after Fritz Lee and Nick Abendanon laid the groundwork in the build-up.
Three minutes later, Hickey slotted a penalty but Sitaleki Timani drew his side level when he dived over from close quarters. Hickey and Brett traded penalties which meant the score was level at 20-20 by the 70th minute but UBB thought they had secured the win when Ian Madigan also added a three-pointer from the kicking tee three minutes later.
It wasn’t to be though, as Brett landed his third penalty in the dying moments to finish with a 13-point haul.
Tries: Braid, Lesgourgues
Cons: Hickey 2
Pens: Hickey 2, Madigan
Tries: Stanley, Timani
Cons: Brett 2
Pens: Brett 3
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Sebastien Taofifenua
Replacements: 16 Benat Auzqui, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Joe Edwards, 20 Gauthier Doubrere, 21 Ian Madigan, 22 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 23 Marc Clerc
Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Camille Gerondeau, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Viktor Kolelishvili, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Peceli Yato, 19 Fritz Lee, 20 Charlie Cassang, 21 Aurelien Rougerie, 22 Adrien Plante, 23 Clement Ric
Referee: Mathieu Raynal