European Rugby Challenge Cup: Northampton Saints beaten by Clermont in opener
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|Northampton (6) 20|
|Try: Collins, Ribbans Cons: Grayson 2 Pens: Biggar 2|
|Clermont Auvergne (20) 41|
|Tries: Betham 2, Yato 2, Slimani, Iturria Cons: Laidlaw 4 Pen: Laidlaw|
Clermont ran in six tries at Franklin's Gardens as Northampton's Challenge Cup campaign began with a resounding loss.
After two Dan Biggar penalties either side of Peter Betham's try left the game evenly poised, Clermont scored 33 unanswered points in a brutal spell.
Peceli Yato's score and Betham's second try made it 20-6 at half-time, before Rabah Slimani, Arthur Iturria and Yato's second put them in control.
Saints scored late consolation tries through Tom Collins and David Ribbans.
But two tries each from Betham and Yato had already sealed the bonus point for Clermont before Northampton hit back in the closing stages.
Collins' try was a superb solo run from 60 metres, while Ribbans battled to score for the home side in the final minute.
Northampton: Mallinder; Tuala, Kellaway, Francis, Collins; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (co-capt), Hartley (co-capt), Painter, Ribbans, Barrow, Haskell, Ludlam, Harrison.
Replacements: Haywood, Van Wyk, Franks, Moon, Gibson, Mitchell, Grayson, Burrell.
Clermont Auvergne: Toeava; Nanai Williams, Penaud, Lamerat, Betham; Fernandez, Laidlaw; Falgoux, Kayser, Slimani, Timani, Vahaamahina, Iturria, Cancoriet, Lee (capt).
Replacements: Ulugia, Kakabadze, Zirakashvili, Van Der Merwe, Yato, Parra, Lopez, Naqalevu.
Referee: Nigel Owens.
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