Gritty bonus-point win for Clermont

Date published: August 28 2015

Clermont secured back-to-back bonus-point victories in the opening rounds of the Top 14 as they battled past Grenoble 25-6 on home soil on Friday.

Les Jaunards weren't at the races on their home patch as so much they tried didn't come off. It was a long way off their fine performance at La Rochelle.

But a bonus-point win is not to be sniffed at and they move provisionally five points clear at the top of the standings, shrugging off a spirited Grenoble.

Grenoble looked to make an early point and new lock signing James Percival certainly did that, taking out Clermont fly-half Camille Lopez late. Fortunately for him it didn't result in three points as Lopez missed his first of three first-half kicks.

James Hart was much better from the tee and pushed Grenoble in front on thirteen minutes after Clermont flank Camille Gérondeau went off his feet.

Meanwhile Lopez's nightmare continued as miss number two and three followed before Hart struck after Fritz Lee didn't release a tackled player.

Remarkably it took Clermont until the 28th minute of the game to trouble the scorers and as expected it came via a try, with prop Thomas Domingo finding a great deal of space on the left side of the field after the hosts had battered down the door to create space wide out. Lopez successfully added the extras with the relief noticeable on his face.

Despite being 7-6 up going into the break, it wouldn't have been surprising if they received a tongue lashing from their coaches and it worked. In-form second-row Paul Jedrasiak was denied a try on 56 minutes due to blocking from a team-mate but one sensed more points were on their way for the Stade Marcel Michelin faithful, who had found their voice.

Lopez obliged with two further penalties on the hour and four minutes later and from then on Clermont looked to push on.

Lee certainly did that with eleven minutes remaining when he powered over off the back of a driving maul. That set up a race for the try bonus-point and Clermont got what they were after with the last play of the game as Jedrasiak crossed.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Tries: Domingo, Lee, Jedrasiak
Con: Lopez, Fernandez
Pen: Lopez 2

For Grenoble:
Pen: Hart 2

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Enzo Sanga, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Camille Gérondeau, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Clément Ric, 2 Iuri Natriashvili, 1 Thomas Domingo (c).
Replacements: 16 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17 Raphaël Chaume, 18 Arthur Iturria, 19 Julien Bardy, 20 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, 21 Patricio Fernandez, 22 Adrien Planté, 23 Daniel Kotze.

Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Daniel Kilioni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Xavier Mignot, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Fabien Gengenbacher (c), 9 James Hart, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Jonathan Best, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 James Percival, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Walter Desmaison, 2 Arnaud Héguy, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Steven Setephano, 19 Henry Vanderglas, 20 Christophe Loustalot, 21 Clément Gelin, 22 Chris Farrell, 23 Dayna Edwards.

Referee: Adrien Descottes