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Clermont clear and in command

Thursday 10th January 2013

12:00 am (GMT)

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ASM Clermont Auvergne have qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals but they will want to make sure they guarantee themselves a home draw in the last eight of the tournament. - 17/01/2013 14:01

ASM Clermont Auvergne have qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals but they will want to make sure they guarantee themselves a home draw in the last eight of the tournament. - 17/01/2013 14:01

Clermont Auvergne will know exactly what they need when they host Heineken Cup new boys Exeter Chiefs at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday evening – a win to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The French side only have to beat the Exeter Chiefs at home by any means possible and they reach the last eight of the Heineken Cup for the third time in the last four seasons.

The Top 14 side are the Pool 5 leaders after a stunning 28-21 victory over the reigning champions, Leinster, in front of a 48,964 crowd at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in the last Pool game.

Clermont’s victory has put them firmly in the driving seat for a place in the last eight of the tournament and they could qualify, if they beat Exeter, with a Pool game still to play.

The French side, along with fellow French outfit and Top 14 leaders, Toulon, and English champions, Harlequins, are one of only three sides still unbeaten in the Pool stages of the Heineken Cup.

Exeter, who cannot qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, come into this game having recorded back-to-back victories over the Scarlets in their last two Pool 5 games.

The English side face a daunting trip to France and they will be underdogs but they will relish the opportunity to test themselves against what many people regard as the best side in this season’s competition.

Match Facts

  • Clermont’s 46-12 victory over Exeter earlier this season was the French side’s biggest against English opposition in the Heineken Cup.
  • Exeter Chiefs’ lineout success rate of 91% is the best in the Heineken Cup. They’ve also stolen 10 opposition throws, more than any other team.
  • Clermont’s Morgan Parra is the tournament’s top points scorer. He has 64 to his name having kicked eight conversions and 16 penalties. Exeter’s 10 Gareth Steenson is joint-second on the points-scoring list with 50.
  • Clermont’s David Skrela has amassed 487 points in his Heineken Cup career and will be eyeing 500 in this match.
  • If Clermont win this match, it would extend their current run of victories to five and subsequently improve their current club record-breaking run.


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Clermont on verge of first home quarter-final

Saturday 12th January 2013

12:00 am (GMT)

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En dominant sans trembler les Chiefs d'Exeter (46-3)

En dominant sans trembler les Chiefs d'Exeter (46-3)

ASM Clermont Auvergne are on the verge of claiming their first home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup after extending their unbeaten run to five games in Pool 5.

Exeter Chiefs became the latest victims at Stade Marcel Michelin as Clermont clinched top spot in the Pool with a third bonus point triumph that included six tries to take their tally to date to 19.

Even though reigning champions Leinster picked up a full-house of points in their 33-14 home win over the Scarlets, Aurelien Rougerie’s team have already picked up 23 points and look set for a home tie in the last eight.

If they can achieve that – they travel to face the Scarlets, who have yet to win a game, in Round 6 – it will be the first time in five quarter-finals they will have the advantage of playing at home – and that is a huge advantage.

The big win over the Chiefs, who now cannot reach the last eight, extended their unbeaten run at Stade Marcel Michelin to 54 games. Exeter were eliminated from the Heineken Cup after being thrashed 46-3 by Clermont Auvergne, who booked their spot in the quarter-finals.

The French side completely overwhelmed their opponents, running in six tries as they cruised to victory at Stade Marcel Michelin, extending their unbeaten home run to 54 matches in the process.

The Chiefs made a positive start but failed to convert their early pressure into points as Gareth Steenson missed two goal attempts in the opening six minutes. Morgan Parra wasn’t off target as he gave his side a 12th minute lead and then Regan King opened up the defence with a brilliant one-handed off-load to allow co-centre Wesley Fofana to score the first try.

Parra converted, added a penalty and then full back Jean-Marcel Buttin claimed the first of his two tries. Steenson kicked a penalty to make it 20-3 at the break.

No 8 Damien Chouly grabbed the third try before David Skrela secured the bonus point when he crashed over from close range. Buttin then grabbed his second try before Napolioni Nalaga completed the rout with try number six.

Parra ended with 14 points and Skrela also added a conversion. Having suffered heartbreak at the semi-final stage last season, it looks as though Clermont are targeting a trip to Dublin for a first final at the end of May.

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