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PREVIEW: Unstoppable force meets immovable object at Clermont

Thursday 20th October 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Impressionnants dimanche dernier à Exeter

Impressionnants dimanche dernier à Exeter

Wesley Fofana is likely to find life a little harder this week when tough-tackling Bordeaux-Begles roll into Stade Marcel Michelin.

The France centre scored two tries in a Man of the Match display that lit-up Clermont-Auvergne’s thoroughly impressive 35-8 win over Exeter Chiefs and made more clean breaks than any other player in last week’s opening round of the European Rugby Champions Cup

But Bordeaux are set to be a different prospect having proved the tournament’s most efficient defence last week, with a remarkable 92 per cent tackle completion rate in the win over Ulster.

Bordeaux also know what it takes to win at Clermont having last year ended their 25-game unbeaten record at home in the Champions Cup, dating back to 2008, though will be fired up by their heavy defeat in the Massive Central last month in the Top 14.

David Strettle scored twice at Clermont, who have only lost once in their nine games so far this season, beat Bordeaux 40-16. And Jean-Marcel Buttin, Bordeaux’s man of the match against Ulster, revealed that recent memory will fuel the visitors.

“It’s never nice to concede 40 points and frankly we wanted to show that we can do better than the last performance we have delivered on this pitch,” he said.

“We will play in a stadium where there is always a very big atmosphere, where everyone takes pleasure in playing. We want to let us free ourselves because that is often as we are the most dangerous.

“It is in this spirit that we are going to let ambition come through the way we will express ourselves on the field. We will see on Saturday night where that takes us against a team as difficult to play against as Clermont-Auvergne.”

Bordeaux are now in their second successive season after a 16-year absence and Buttin added: “We had to fight a long time last season for the right to play this competition so we were very pleased to make the perfect start by beating Ulster last week at our stadium. We knew the first game set the tone of the competition. It was not easy but the result is there.”

Scott Spedding (concussion), Vincent Debaty (neck) and Hosea Gear (knee) could all return for Clermont though Damien Chouly and Fritz Lee are out.
Match Facts

  • This will be the third meeting between the clubs in European competition after they met in the pool stage of the tournament last season. Both ties were won by the away side on the day.
  • Bordeaux-Bègles’ win against Clermont in last season’s competition was the first time Clermont had been beaten at home since 2008; they won 25 in a row before the 37-28 defeat in Round 6.
  • Julien Bardy made more tackles (25) than any other player in Round 1, while teammate Benjamin Kayser made the third most (18).
  • Wesley Fofana, Heineken Man of the match from the Round 1 win over Exeter, made more clean breaks than any other player (5) in the opening weekend.
  • Bordeaux-Bègles had the best tackle completion rate (92%) in Round 1.

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REPORT: Clermont win Champions Cup thriller

Saturday 22nd October 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Stade Marcel Michelin played host to an all-French European Rugby Champions Cup thriller as ASM Clermont Auvergne claimed a 49-33 triumph over Bordeaux-Begles. - 22/10/2016 17:27

Stade Marcel Michelin played host to an all-French European Rugby Champions Cup thriller as ASM Clermont Auvergne claimed a 49-33 triumph over Bordeaux-Begles. - 22/10/2016 17:27

Stade Marcel Michelin played host to an all-French European Rugby Champions Cup thriller as ASM Clermont Auvergne claimed a 49-33 triumph over Bordeaux-Begles.

Jean-Marcel Buttin and Jayden Spence had given the visitors a positive start before the TOP14 leaders flexed their muscles. Noa Nakaitaci scored on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts the lead before Alexander Lapandry and Wesley Fofana scored and Vahaamahina bagged the bonus-point.

But Bordeaux fought-back to claim a bonus of their own as Buttin got his second before setting up Met Talebula, and Gauthier Doubrère scored a late consolation. Clermont remain top of Pool 5 with 10 points after round two.

The Stade Marcel Michelin was stunned into silence when Bordeaux took the lead after just four minutes. A free-flowing attack had the Clermont defence scrambling, and they cracked when the ball was worked wide to Buttin, who side-stepped past Morgan Parra to score from 20 metres out.

Ian Madigan landed the conversion before Parra kicked a penalty of his own three minutes later to cut the gap to 7-3. And Parra, who had only missed two kicks all season before this match, chipped away at the Bordeaux lead with another penalty after the visitors went off their feet at a ruck.

But Clermont’s comeback was halted by some more clinical play from the Begles’ backline.
Madigan received the ball and found Spence with a perfectly timed short-ball. The kiwi centre sliced through and crashed over to give Madigan a simple conversion.

Parra landed a penalty to bring Clermont back to within five points, before Bordeaux wing Kobus Van Wyk was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on the home scrum-half. And they were made to pay for their indiscipline when David Strettle’s deflected hack forward found its way to Nakaitaci, who picked up and dived over for his eighth try of the season.

Parra maintained his 100 percent record from the tee in the Champions Cup to add the conversion and send his men into the changing rooms at half-time with a 16-14 lead. And the TOP14 leaders took a firm grip on the game two minutes into the second-half.

A half-break from Camille Lopez moved Clermont to within five metres of the try-line, before Nakataici’s loose offload was collected by Lapandy, who stretch over to make it 21-14. And Fofana got in on the act when he fended off a pair of defenders to break on the outside to score the hosts’ third try.

Vahaamahina was shunted over for the bonus-point score, before a late flurry of tries.
Buttin grabbed his second and setup a bonus-point try of their own for Talebulama after Strettle collected his own kick to score. And Timani put the gloss on the win with a try in the 75th minute before Doubrère crashed over.


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