Clermont too good for Grenoble

Date published: May 9 2015

Clermont shook off their Champions Cup disappointment to see off Grenoble 37-17 at the Stade des Alpes and get their season back on track.

Beaten by Toulon at Twickenham, Clermont also dropped out of the top two in the Top 14 after Toulouse's win over Brive, but they responded with a success at Grenoble that plunges their hosts further into the relegation mire.

There were questions over how Clermont would respond to European disappointment, having seen their domestic form nosedive in the last two seasons after being knocked out of Europe.

But they dominated from the off here, with first-half tries from Thomas Domingo, Noa Nakaitaci and Wesley Fofana and were never in danger.

Grenoble, as they have in the last two seasons, are really struggling in the last few weeks of the campaign, and have just a point advantage over 13th-placed Bayonne, having lost their last three games.

Clermont made the perfect start with a try after just four minutes from prop Domingo, who powered over after Camille Lopez had been stopped just short of the line.

Lopez converted to make it 7-0, but Jonathan Wisniewski responded with a penalty to cut the deficit to four points.

Clermont added a penalty of their own from long range by Ludovic Radosavljevic after their scrum had got the upper hand on halfway, and the game was being played at a frantic pace.

Grenoble got back into Clermont territory without finding a way through, and just before the hour, the visitors were in again.

It came after a break from Peceli Yato, who fed Paul Jedrasiak on his shoulder. The lock got up to the 22, before feeding Nakaitaci, who had enough pace to sprint over on the left. Lopez couldn't convert from the touchline but Clermont led 15-3.

Les Jaunards had clearly shaken off the disappointment of last week's loss, and they provisionally secured the bonus point on the half-hour when Fofana popped up in midfield, slipped through one tackle and had enough pace to sprint 40 metres for the try. Lopez converted from in front as Clermont took complete control.

Grenoble needed a reaction and they thought they had their first try just before the hour whe Hendrik Roodt tried to power over, however after consultation with the TMO, he seemed to have been stopped short of the line. It mattered little though as Grenoble came again, and this time Roodt wasn't going to be stopped, with Wisniewski converting to make it 22-10 at the break.

The first score of the second half was always going to be crucial, and on 53 minutes it was Clermont who went over again, with Nick Abendanon scoring his first try in the Top 14.

The full-back collected Fofana's delayed pass before stepping inside the final defender to dot down, although Lopez was off-target with the conversion.

Still, leading 27-10, Clermont were assured of the victory, and they extended their lead with a penalty from Morgan Parra with quarter of an hour remaining.

Clermont were then reduced to 14 men with ten minutes to go when Davit Zirakashvili was sin-binned for a late tackle and Grenoble took advantage to score their second try.

After some good work from the Grenoble pack, it was Albertus Buckle who crashed over with a pick and go, with Wisniewski converting to cut the deficit to 13 points.

That meant Clermont lost their bonus point, but Fofana intercepted Chris Farrell's pass with four minutes remaining and while he couldn't collect cleanly, the ball bounced behind him before he recovered it to race over from halfway to ensure his team bagged all five points.

The scorers:

For Grenoble:
Tries: Roodt, Buckle
Cons: Wisniewski 2
Pen: Wisniewski

For Clermont:
Tries: Domingo, Nakaitaci, Fofana 2, Abendanon
Cons: Lopez 2, Parra
Pens: Radosavljevic, Parra
Yellow card: Zirakashvili

Grenoble: 15 Fabien Gengenbacher, 14 Benjamin Thiery, 13 Xavier Mignot, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Peter KimlinHenry Vanderglas, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Arnaud Héguy, 1 Fabien Barcella
Replacements: 16 Laurent Bouchet, 17 Albertus Buckle, 18 Florian Faure, 19 Ross Skeate, 20 Jonathan Best, 21 James Hart, 22 Chris Farrell, 23 Richard Choirat

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Aurélien Rougerie, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Noa NakaitaciJulien Malzieu, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Ludovic RadosavljevicMorgan Parra, 8 Peceli Yato, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Clément Ric, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Thomas DomingoRaphaël Chaume
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Raphaël Chaume, 18 Loïc Jacquet, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Morgan Parra, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Davit Zirakashvili

Referee: Romain Poite