European Rugby Champions Cup: Clermont Auvergne 42-10 Exeter

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport
David Strettle scores for Exeter
Former Saracens wing David Strettle scored his third try of the tournament against Exeter on Sunday
European Rugby Champions Cup
Clermont Auvergne (21) 42
Tries: Strettle, Lapandry, Lee, Vahaamahina, Davies Pens: Parra 2, Spedding Cons: Parra 3, Lopez
Exeter Chiefs (3) 10
Tries: Johnson Pens: Steenson Cons: Hooley

Clermont bounced back from their shock defeat by Exeter to thrash the Chiefs in the return Champions Cup fixture.

Exeter came from behind to record a famous 31-14 victory at Sandy Park last Saturday, but the Top 14 leaders were unstoppable on home soil.

David Strettle, Alexandre Lapandry, Fritz Lee, Sebastien Vahaamahina and Wales' Jonathan Davies all went over.

Exeter grabbed a late try through Tom Johnson, when Clermont were reduced to 13 men, but it was a mere consolation.

The bonus point win for the French side throws Pool Two wide open, with all four teams still in with a chance of qualification to the quarter-finals.

Ospreys occupy the top spot - and automatic qualification place - in the group after earning two bonus points in their defeat by Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday.

Clermont jump from fourth to second and are level with third-place Exeter on 10 points, although the French side have a game in hand.

Bordeaux are bottom of the group with six points but have also played on game less than Ospreys and Exeter.

The five teams that finish top of each pool progress to the knock-out rounds of the competition, along with the three best runners-up.

Clermont turn the tables on Chiefs

Jonathan Davies
Wales' Jonathan Davies marked his return from injury with a try for Clermont Auvergne

Clermont, last season's losing finalists, were left reeling after their away defeat by Premiership Exeter, but they turned the tables on their Pool Two rivals at the Stade Marcel Michel.

The hosts were dealt an early blow when Camille Lopez was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle and Gareth Steenson slotted the resulting penalty, but Clermont went on to run in 42 unanswered points.

Morgan Parra and Scott Spedding kicked the French side ahead and Strettle's try opened up a 10-point lead. The former Saracens wing darted inside from the edge of the 22 and finished off under the posts, and Parra duly converted before adding a second penalty.

Exeter's woes continued when number eight Thomas Waldron, whose tries orchestrated the Chiefs' comeback last weekend, received a yellow card for stripping the ball in the tackle.

Clermont made the extra man count, as influential fly-half Parra delivered a back-handed offload for Lapandry to make it 21-3.

With Waldron still in the sin bin after the break, Lee touched down from a catch and drive, and Vahaamahina then barged his way over for Clermont's fourth try.

Wales centre Davies marked his return from seven months out with a knee injury by crossing over in the corner for the bonus point, after receiving a looping ball over the top from Lopez.

The game was out of sight for Exeter but they went on a late attack and, with Vito Kolelishvili and Clement Ric sent to the bin for collapsing two drives, Johnson was able to power over.

Match stats
Clermont AuvergneExeter
24Defenders beaten9
9Tackles missed24

Exeter coach Rob Baxter: "The bigger picture is that this result may not mean too much. We still have two games to go and we would have had to have won at least one of them - now we have to win them both.

"If we use this experience of coming to France to win another game in France later in the pool, then great.

"We have got to use the frustrations, disappointments and errors, both collectively and as individuals, the next time we come over here because there will be a similar amount of pressure and we will be playing in front of an even bigger crowd."


Clermont Auvergne: Spedding; Strettle, Davies, Gear, Nakaitaci; Lopez, Parra (c); Debaty, Kayser, Kotze; Cudmore, Vahaamahina; Kolelishvili, Lapandry, Lee.

Replacements: Vulivuli for Davies (67), Fernandez for Lopez (69), Radosavljevic for Parra (48), Domingo for Debaty (50), Ulugia for Kayser (64), Ric for Kotze (64), Jedrasiak for Cudmore (69), Chouly for Lee (55), Kotze for Lapandry (78)

Sin Bin: Lopez (2), Kolelishvili (70), Ric (71).

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Jess, Nowell, Whitten, Short; Steenson, Lewis; Rimmer, Yeandle (c), Francis; Parling, Welch; Armand, Salvi, Waldrom.

Replacements: Campagnaro for Dollman (41), Hooley for Steenson (64), Thomas for Lewis (64), A. Hepburn for Rimmer (50), Taione for Yeandle (50), Low for Francis (50), Lees for Welch (50), Johnson for Waldrom (64).

Sin Bin: Waldrom (35).

Att: 18,000

Ref: Marius Mitrea (Italy).

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