Clermont target last eight after bruising Champions Cup win over Bordeaux
Last year’s runners-up Clermont stayed on course for the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals Friday after winning a bad-tempered all-French clash against Bordeaux-Bègles.
The 28-10 victory put Clermont on top of Pool 2 in a game held over from November when it was called off in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks.
Bordeaux remain bottom of the group, behind Exeter and Ospreys, after a third defeat in four matches.
They then played 10 minutes with 13 men when replacement prop Francisco Gómez Kodela was yellow-carded for a crude shoulder charge which sent Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra careering off the pitch.
“It was a good performance to come here and get four points against Bordeaux. It was a committed match on a muddy surface,” said Clermont boss Franck Azema.
“We have our destiny in our own hands and we still have a job to do, otherwise it would serve no purpose coming here for a win if we don’t win next week [against Ospreys in Swansea].”
Bordeaux had been in front 3-0 thanks to an early penalty from veteran fly-half Lionel Beauxis, but that was the only time they held the advantage.
English full-back Nick Abendanon grabbed Clermont’s first try of the evening after 17 minutes from 20 metres out, cleverly feinting to the right before setting off on his left foot and squeezing between three defenders to score.
Parra added the extras and a penalty for 10-3 before Bordeaux clawed their way back to 10-10 when hooker Clément Maynadier barrelled over for a try, converted by Beauxis.
By half-time, however, Clermont were 17-10 to the good when fly-half Camille Lopez danced through an inviting gap for the converted try.Parra popped over two more penalties early in the second half for 23-10 which was the cue for Bordeaux to lose their discipline along with Le Devedec and Kodela.
Welsh centre Jonathan Davies then sweetly set winger Noa Nakaitaci on his way for a 70th-minute try for 28-10 which left Clermont on top of the group, two points ahead of next week’s opponents Ospreys.
Two other Champions Cup clashes postponed following the November attacks – Racing 92 against Glasgow Warriors and Stade Français against Munster – will take place Saturday together with the rescheduled Pau versus Castres clash in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
European Rugby Champions Cup 2015-16 (standings after Friday’s match)