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Clermont v Grenoble Match Review

The two teams who impressed most in the first round with bonus point wins met at the Stade Marcel-Michelin in a Friday night clash that had been hugely hyped up. It turned out to be a tough grind, hard on the players and at times hard for the fans to watch. It ended with a win for Clermont 25 – 6 and a much larger gap in score than the play suggested.

Grenoble looked to be Clermont’s equal throughout the first half and into the second, always within a converted try on the score board until the 69th minute when a late flurry of scores that took the game away from the ‘Red and Blue’ Grenoble side.

Starting the game with many handling errors, penalties at the scrum and a late but legal big hit on Camille Lopez, meant that both teams had opportunities to put three points on the board early. However a ruffled Camille Lopez made a complete u-turn in form (compared to last week) missing three penalties in a row, letting Grenoble take the lead as halfback James Hart slotted the ball over twice. 0-6 to Grenoble after 25 minutes of play, and the home side needed to bounce right back.

Gladly, for almost a full minute after that Hart penalty, Clermont battered the right flank of Grenoble. Drawing more and more defenders into a ‘little bubble’ of hard contact which created enough space out wide for prop, and captain of Clermont, Thomas Domingo to run in a try from ten meters out on the left wing unopposed.

Fans had to wait for a full half an hour more before another meaningful score was made. Armand Battle was carded for knocking the ball down while trying to intercept a pass on the try line, this lead to Camille Lopez kicking for touch in the corner and the Clermont pack setting a positive rolling maul play that saw Fritz Lee touch down in the 69th minute.

Grenoble put up a stalwart defence throughout the fixture, especially tough in the last ten minutes with only 14 men, laying their bodies on the line in a great physical display. Disappointedly Paul Jedraziak managed to slip past that defence around a ruck on the try line, as the away team spread out to cover a pod of Clermont forwards who were also expecting the ball. Indeed Jedraziak sneaked past the defence so easily, it took several seconds for players and the crowd in fact to comprehend they had just witnessed a bonus-point try.

Clermont 25 – 6 Grenoble

Tries: Clermont – Domingo (28), Lee (70), Jedraziak (80)

Conversions: Clermont – Lopez (29 ‘), Fernandez (80’)

Penalties: Clermont – Lopez (60, 63)

Grenoble: penalties – Hart (12, 26)


15 Nick Abendanon

14 David Strettle

13 Aurélien Rougerie

12 Benson Stanley

11 Hosea Gear

10 Camille Lopez

9 Enzo Sanga

8 Fritz Lee

7 Alexandre Lapandry

6 Camille Gérondeau

5 Sébastien Vahaamahina

4 Paul Jedrasiak

3 Clément Ric

2 Iuri Natriashvili

1 Thomas Domingo (c)

Substitutes: 16 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17 Raphaël Chaume, 18 Arthur Iturria, 19 Julien Bardy, 20 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, 21 Patricio Fernandez, 22 Adrien Planté, 23 Daniel Kotze.


15 Gio Aplon

14 Daniel Kilioni

13 Jackson Willison

12 Xavier Mignot

11 Armand Batlle

10 Fabien Gengenbacher (c)

9 James Hart

8 Rory Grice

7 Jonathan Best

6 Peter Kimlin

5 James Percival

4 Ben Hand

3 Walter Desmaison

2 Arnaud Héguy

1 Fabien Barcella

Substitutes: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Steven Setephano, 19 Henry Vanderglas, 20 Christophe Loustalot, 21 Clément Gelin, 22 Chris Farrell, 23 Dayna Edwards.

Next week in round three of Top 14 competition. Grenoble will play host to Pau at the Stade des Alpes. Pau come into the fixture with a win over Montpelier and the home side will need to improve. In other matches, Clermont will look to solidify their postion at the top of the table with another away game at Oyannax.

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