Clermont got the pre-requisite five point victory at home to Viadana at the Marcel Michelin in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.
Two tries from fly-half Brent Russell and one each from Seremia Bai, replacement Vincent Debaty and Thibaut Privat gave Clermont Auvergne their win.
There were also three conversions from scrum-half Morgan Parra - who kicked a penalty too - and one from replacement Brock James as the Frenchmen got their campaign off to a winning start.
Viadana failed to cross the line but stayed in touch for much of the match thanks to three penalties from number 10 Pierre Hola, two from full-back Gary Law and another from prop Miguel Alonso.
Tries: Bai, Russell 2, Debaty, Privat
Cons: Parra 3, James
Pens: Alonso, Hola 3, Law 2
Clermont: 15 Aurélien Rougerie, 14 Gavin Williams, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Seremaïa Bai, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 Brent Russell, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Alexandre Audebert, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Lionel Faure.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Vincent Debaty, 19 Julien Bardy, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Ludovic Radoslavjevic, 22 Brock James, 23 Napolini Vonowale Nalaga.
Viadana: 15 Garry Law, 14 Samuele Pace, 13 Matthew Harvey, 12 Sam Cox, 11 Matteo Pratichetti, 10 Pierre Hola, 9 Mickey Wilson, 8 Gavin Quinnell, 7 Aldo Birchall, 6 Andrea Benatti, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys, 4 Sean Hohneck, 3 Ignacio Elosu, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Miguel Alonso.
Replacements: 16 Julio Garcia, 17 Luigi Milani, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Pablo Canavosio, 22 Nicola Sintich, 23 Michele Sepe.
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Ronnie Dumma (Scotland)