Sunday 17 December 2017

Clermont's Exeter rout edges them closer to home quarter-final

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

CLERMONT Auvergne moved closer to a first home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup after a comprehensive dismissal of Exeter at Stade Marcel Michelin.

The French outfit secured top spot in Leinster's Pool 5 with a bonus-point triumph, running six tries past the Tom Hayes-skippered Chiefs.

They can guarantee a home tie in the last eight – their first in the five times they have reached the knockout stages – by beating Scarlets next weekend, while Leinster travel to Exeter.

Saracens are in the box seat in Munster's Pool 1 after their 37-28 win away to Racing Metro. Owen Farrell was in imperious form with the boot, landing 10 penalties and a conversion.


The Londoners saw both Will Fraser and Chris Ashton spend time in the bin, but despite being outscored by three tries to one, they came out on top.

Harlequins' easy Pool 3 win over Connacht sees them provisionally top the seedings for the quarter-finals, but they are closely followed by French big-spenders Toulon, who ran in seven tries against Cardiff in Pool 6.

Toulon are on course for a home quarter-final and are guaranteed a last-eight spot even if they lose away to Top 14 rivals Montpellier – who are currently ranked seventh in the seedings after their easy win away to Sale – next weekend.

In Pool 2, Welsh interest in the Heineken Cup ended when the Ospreys could only manage a draw at home to Leicester.

The result kept the Tigers in the hunt for a quarter-final place – their clash with Toulouse will decide who comes out on top.

The French giants have two points to spare over Leicester after their bonus-point 25-14 win over Treviso set up a winner-takes-all showdown in Welford Road.

Irish Independent

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