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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 Leinster Fixtures
TimeFixture
Leinster
Saturday 29th November
Guinness PRO12
17:15Leinster vs Ospreys
British and Irish Cup
13:00Leinster vs Carmarthen Quins
Saturday 6th December
15:00Jersey vs Leinster
Sunday 7th December
European Rugby Champions Cup
15:15Harlequins vs Leinster
Saturday 13th December
19:45Leinster vs Harlequins
British and Irish Cup
15:00Leinster vs Plymouth Albion
Friday 19th December
Guinness PRO12
19:35Leinster vs Connacht
Friday 26th December
17:00Munster vs Leinster
Saturday 3rd January
14:40Leinster vs Ulster
Saturday 10th January
14:40Cardiff Blues vs Leinster
Wednesday 14th January
TBCLeinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Saturday 17th January
European Rugby Champions Cup
TBCLeinster vs Castres
Saturday 24th January
TBCWasps vs Leinster
Saturday 21st February
Guinness PRO12
TBCLeinster vs Zebre
Saturday 28th February
TBCOspreys vs Leinster
Today's Results
Result
Leinster
Sunday 23rd November
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster
Friday 31st October
Leinster 33 - 8 Edinburgh
Sunday 26th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
Castres 16 - 21 Leinster
Saturday 25th October
British and Irish Cup
Carmarthen Quins 26 - 24 Leinster
Sunday 19th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
Leinster 25 - 20 Wasps
Friday 17th October
British and Irish Cup
Leinster 26 - 6 Jersey
Saturday 11th October
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 3 - 20 Leinster
British and Irish Cup
Plymouth Albion 24 - 31 Leinster
Saturday 4th October
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 23 - 34 Munster

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