Friday 23 February 2018

Clermont step on the gas to snuff out spirited Scarlets

Clermont Auvergne 32 Scarlets 11

Clermont Ferrand's Aurelien Rougerie, center, powers his way through the Llanelli Scarlets' defense
Clermont Ferrand's Aurelien Rougerie, center, powers his way through the Llanelli Scarlets' defense

Clermont Auvergne extended their remarkable unbeaten home record to 68 matches after overcoming a spirited Scarlets side 32-11 at Stade Marcel-Michelin.

The home side took the lead in the Heineken Cup Pool 4 match through two early penalties from Brock James, before returning Welsh international Rhys Priestland pulled the visitors back to 6-3 and shaved a post three minutes before the break.

The Scarlets resistance was finally broken early in the second half when Canadian lock Jamie Cudmore, who spent three years at the west Wales club, drove over for the first try of the game. Brock James added the conversion.

Jordan Williams put the visitors back in touch at 13-6 with a superb penalty from the halfway line, but the sheer power of the home side began to tell and Fijian wing Napolioni Nalaga raced away for two tries in quick succession to put the game out of sight.

All that was left for the home side was to finish off with a bonus point, but it did not look as though it was going to emerge.

Scarlets' latest Welsh international Rhodri Williams scampered over for a consolation try after 78 minutes and it was not until the fifth minute of injury time that the home fans were able to celebrate a full house of points.

The fourth try for last season's Heineken Cup runners-up came from replacement prop Clement Ric and Mike Delany's conversion made the scoreline look far more comfortable than the contest was.

Scorers – Clermont: N Nalaga 2 tries; C Ric, J Cudmore try each; B James 2 pens, 2 cons; M Delaney con Scarlets: R Williams try; J Priestland, J Williams pen each.

Clermont: L Byrne (N Nakaitaci 19); S Sivivatu, A Rougerie (capt), R King, N Nalaga; B James (M Delany 71), T Lacrampe (L Radoslavjevic 64); T Domingo (V Debaty 49-53, 62), B Kayser (T Paulo 62), D Kotze (C Ric 59), J Cudmore (J Pierre 71), N Hines, J Bonnaire, G Vosloo, F Lee (D Chouly 64)

Scarlets: L Williams (A Thomas 69); F Climo, N Reynolds (A Warren 57), S Williams, J Williams; R Priestland, G Davies (R Williams 53); R Evans (S Hopkins 75), E Phillips (capt) (K Owens 54), S Lee (J Adriaanse 28), J Ball (R Kelly 69), G Earle, A Shingler (J Snyman 23), J Turnbull, J Barclay.

Referee: JP Doyle

Sunday Independent

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