Heineken Cup: Exeter eliminated as Clermont Auvergne progress
Exeter were eliminated from the Heineken Cup after a 46-3 thrashing by Clermont Auvergne, who booked a last eight spot.
Last Updated: 13/01/13 6:43pm
The French side completely overwhelmed their opponents, running in six tries as they cruised to victory at Stade Marcel Michelin, extending their unbeaten home run to 54 matches in the process.
Clermont cannot be caught at the top of Pool 5, while Leinster's bonus-point win over the Scarlets means that Exeter have no chance of securing one of the two best runner-up spots.
Exeter made a positive start but Gareth Steenson missed two chances in the opening six minutes to put the visiting side ahead from the kicking tee.
The Chiefs were soon made to pay as Morgan Parra slotted over a penalty in the 12th minute and shortly afterwards Wesley Fofana took a brilliant offload from fellow centre Regan King in for the first try of the evening.
Parra added the conversion before being on target with another penalty and, as the half passed the midway point, Jean-Marcel Buttin touched down with Exeter exposed on the right of their defence.
Steenson got Exeter on the board with his third penalty attempt and Exeter had a more encouraging spell prior to half-time, which they reached with the score still 20-3 in the home side's favour.
Clermont prop Thomas Domingo was yellow carded as the visitors continued to come forward early in the second half, but Exeter could not add to their points tally while they had the upper hand.
With their numbers topped up again, Clermont piled on the pressure and grabbed their third try when No 8 Damien Chouly reached over the line after picking up the ball from a ruck.
David Skrela secured the bonus point when he crashed over from close range before Buttin took a beautiful pass from Ludovic Radosavljevic in at the corner.
The scoring was completed when Napolioni Nalaga grounded the ball in a swarm of bodies. Nalanga's try was the only one which went unconverted, with Parra kicking four and Skrela adding another.