Planet Rugby

Clermont cruise into last eight

12th January 2013 19:57

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Wesley Fofana Clermont Exeter

Opening try for Clermont: Wesley Fofana

Clermont joined Ulster and Harlequins in qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals thanks to a convincing 46-3 win over Scarlets at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin on Saturday.

The win stretches les Jaunards' unbeaten streak on home soil to 54 games and assures them of top spot in Pool Five with a round still to play.

Clermont headed into the clash in impressive form, having won their last four matches in the Heineken Cup, while Exeter were without a win in their last three matches in all competitions.

A Morgan Parra penalty in the 12th minute put the French side in front, and the hosts quickly added their first try when Wesley Fofana powered over. Napolioni Nalaga laid the foundations for the score with a powerful break in which he brushed off several defenders.

Parra converted and then added a second penalty before Clermont put further points on the board when swift hands from Regan King and Damian Chouly sent Jean-Marcel Buttin over for five points, which Parra again turned into seven.

Already 20 points behind, the Chiefs got off the mark through Gareth Steenson's penalty, though the booted effort would turn out to be the only time the visitors would trouble the scorers.

The hosts' territorial dominance continued for the remainder of the first half, though to the Chiefs credit, Clermont came away empty handed.

A nip-and-tuck opening to the second half was finally interrupted at the beginning of the final quarter when Damien Chouly's converted try signalled the start of a flurry of points.

Unfortunately for Exeter, it was one-way traffic as Clermont underlined their superiority with some enterprising attacking play, scoring three tries in the final 10 minutes.

Within seconds of coming on,David Skrela danced passed Ignacio Mieres for the crucial fourth try on 70 minutes, before Buttin and Nalaga rubbed salt in the wounds with further scores.

Buttin claimed a sensational second try on 73 minutes as Ludovic Radosavljevic broke from the base of a ruck and fired a pinpoint pass to the full-back.

And Nalaga completed the rout at the death from close range.

Parra and Skrela converted two of the final three tries between them, adding the polish as Clermont coasted into the quarter-finals.

The scorers:

For Clermont :
Tries: Fofana, Buttin 2, Chouly, Skrela, Nalaga
Cons: Parra 4, Skrela
Pens: Parra 2
Yellow card: Domingo

For Exeter:
Pen: Steenson

ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Jean-Marcel Buttin, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Regan King, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Loic Jacquet, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Ludovic Radoslavjevic , 22 David Skrela, 23. Benson Stanley.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Kevin Barrett, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Ally Muldowney, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ian Whitten.

Venue: Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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