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Clermont Auvergne


  • Penalty goals: Parra (4),
    Drop goals: James,
15 - 12

Leinster


  • Penalty goals: Sexton (4),

Heineken Cup: Clermont edge kicking battle with Leinster

Last updated: 9th December 2012  

Jonathan Sexton tackles Lee Byrne Leinster v Clermont Auvergne Heineken Cup Pool 5 Stade Marcel Michelin

Jonathan Sexton: Leinster stand-off tackles Clermont's Lee Byrne

Brock James Clermont Auvergne v Leinster Heineken Cup Pool 5 Stade Marcel Michelin

Brock James: Clermont fly-half landed drop goal just before half-time

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Clermont Auvergne pulled clear at the top of Heineken Cup Pool 5 with a 15-12 victory over defending champions Leinster at Stade Marcel Michelin.

Morgan Parra kicked four penalties and his half-back partner Brock James added a drop goal as the French side scored all their points in the first half.

Leinster stand-off Jonathan Sexton kept his side in touch with four penalties, three before half-time and the last in the 53rd minute to reduce the deficit to three points.

But the Irish province, who beat the same opponents in the semi-final of last season's competition, could not find a way through during a hard-fought finale.

The result extends Clermont's unbeaten home record to 51 matches - dating back to November 2009 - and puts them on 14 points in Pool 5 after three straight wins.

Leinster, for whom defeat brought an end to a 17-match unbeaten streak in the Heineken Cup, picked up a losing bonus point for their efforts and remain in second place in the pool with nine points ahead of the return fixture in Dublin next Saturday.

Threat

Clermont drew first blood, Parra popping over a penalty from in front of the posts but Leinster carried more of an early threat with ball in hand.

Jamie Heaslip's inside pass put Ian Madigan through a midfield hole and Sexton stepped up to convert the subsequent penalty.

An obstruction from a lineout went unpunished as Sexton missed a tricky penalty, with play swinging back and forth at a hectic pace.

A strong burst from Napolioni Nalaga led to Parra kicking Clermont back in front by the end of a defence-dominated first quarter.

The home side cranked it up as Sitiveni Sivivatu drew in two defenders, releasing Aurelien Rougerie and Lee Byrne for a right-wing surge that almost led to a try.

A third successful penalty from Parra stretched the margin to 9-3, but Leinster were quick to respond through a bout of sturdy carries from Fergus McFadden, Cian Healy and Kevin McLaughlin.

Sexton was back on target with a penalty from the 22 and as the Leinster pack exerted more control, they continued to make good ground.

Madigan burst into the 22 and with Clermont penalised for not rolling away, Sexton brought the title holders level.

However, Clermont hit back through another penalty from Parra and James' late drop goal put six points between the sides at the break.

Close

Sexton and Madigan probed with clever kicks on the resumption, while Isa Nacewa and McFadden both went close to collecting cross-field kicks from the Leinster number 10.

After two confidence-boosting scrums, with Mike Ross shunting Vincent Debaty backwards, Sexton slotted his fourth successful penalty with 53 minutes on the clock.

Clermont looked to be tiring but Byrne did well again to sweep the ball into touch with Nacewa bearing down on him as he chased Gordon D'Arcy's kick.

Although the French outfit responded with two side-stepping runs from the dangerous Wesley Fofana, Leinster defended stoutly but a couple of loose lineouts - with replacement hooker Richard Strauss on the pitch - robbed them of promising attacking positions as time ran down.

Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
15:15Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
14:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

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Phil Edwards

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