Machenaud’s boot sinks Clermont

Date published: May 1 2016

Racing 92 scrum-half Maxime Machenaud kicked 21 points to propel his side to a 26-20 victory over play-off rivals Clermont.

The Champions Cup finalists were kept tryless for the majoriry of the match until centre Albert Vulivuli's late effort secured victory with four minutes left.

Aurélien Rougerie and Damien Chouly both scored for Clermont but les Jaunards missed out in the end, with Racing's win closing the gap to eight points between the first and third placed sides.

Rougerie's try opened the scoring after he latched onto an inside pass from Wesley Fofana and raced away from 40 metres out to score, converted by Morgan Parra.

Machenaud replied with two quick penalties in eight minutes to cut the gap to a single point before Clermont lost flanker Alexandre Lapandry to the bin for tackling a man without the ball.

The resulting penalty put Racing into the lead but it lasted only a minute, Clermont grabbing their second try through Chouly as a brilliant run from Nick Abendanon set him up to fix the last man, allowing Chouly to go over.

Parra's conversion make it 14-9 but a fourth Machenaud penalty cut the gap to two points, making it 14-12 at half-time.

The two France scrum-halves traded further penalties after the break, with Machenaud moving to five out of five, but Clermont were soon back down to 14 men when Jonathan Davies saw yellow.

Machenaud nailed the kick to put Racing ahead 18-17 and after his next effort, following a Camille Lopez strike, the scoreline was poised at 21-20 going into the final few minutes.

Vulivuli's try then settled the contest, his interception score against his old club confirmed by the TMO as Racing secured the win.

The scorers: 

For Racing:
Try: Vulivuli
Pens: Machenaud 7

For Clermont:
Rougerie, Chouly
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra, Lopez
Yellow Cards: Lapandry, Davies

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Louis Dupichot, 13 Etienne Dussartre, 12 Albert Vulivuli, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Rémi Talès, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Thibault Dubarry, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Chris Masoe, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 Benjamin Dambielle, 22 Joe Rokocoko, 23 Luc Ducalcon

Clermont: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Nick Abendanon, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Vito Kolelishvili, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Dan Kotze, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Paul Jedrasiak, 19 Camille Gerondeau, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Brock James, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Clément Ric

Referee: Salem Attalah