Clermont reclaimed top spot in the Top 14 with a thumping 30-6 win over Toulon at the Stade Marcel-Michelin on Sunday.
Clermont outplayed Toulon in the first 40, despite Pierre Bernard’s drop goal in the first minute to give the visitors an unlikely 3-0 lead. Morgan Parra pulled it back for the hosts with a penalty shortly after before Camille Lopez went over for the first try of the game to give Clermont an 8-3 lead.
Toulon shot themselves in the foot just before half time when Liam Gill was sin binned with a yellow card, and Clermont were awarded a penalty try two minutes later which, together with Parra’s conversion, extended their lead to 15-3 going into the break.
O’Connor opened the scoring in the second half with a penalty with Toulon still a man down, but Parra canceled it out with a penalty of his own as Clermont took an 18-6 lead into the final 30 minutes of the game.
The hosts secured the result with 14 minutes left when Wesley Fofana intercepted a James O’Connor pass and just had enough pace to cross the line, although a desperate attempt by Bryan Habana to stop him from grounding the ball suggested the Springbok winger might have succeeded.
But the referee didn’t refer the try to the TMO so it stood. Parra added the extras and at 25-6 the game was well and truly over.
Clermont added further insult to injury when Remi Lamerat went over for his side’s fourth try. From a turnover Sebastien Tillous-Borde gave an up and under just outside his 22 which was collected by Camille Lopez who managed an offload to Isaia Toeava.
The full-back put Noa Nakaitaci away who gave a simple pass to Lamerat on the right wing who dived over for the bonus-point.
Tries: Lopez, Penalty Try, Fofana, Lamerat
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 2
Yellow Card: Kolelishvili
Drop Goal: Bernard
Yellow Card: Gill
Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Arthur Iturria, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Paul Jedrasiak, 19 Peceli Yato, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Benson Stanley, 22 Scott Spedding, 23 Aaron Jarvis
Toulon: 15 James O’Connor, 14 Axel Muler, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juandre Kruger, 6 Liam Gill, 5 Swan Rebbadj, 4 Mamuka Gorgodze, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Jean Charles Orioli, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Jocelino Suta, 19 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Mathieu Bastareaud, 21 Bryan Habana, 22 Jonathan Pelissie, 23 Levan Chilachava