Clermont Auvergne 24-7 Northampton Saints, Stade Marcel-Michelin
Charlie Cassang scored a try each in either half as Clermont Auvergne overpowered Northampton Saints with a 24-7 victory in their European Champions Cup at Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday.
The game was marred by a serious injury to France fly-half Camille Lopez, who left the field stretcher with a broken leg in the 22nd minute and is set to miss the upcoming Six Nations tournament for his country.
The home side got off to a promising start when number eight Fritz Lee went past the line and Morgan Parra slotted the conversion and as Northampton were struggling to get their first points on the board, Cassang scored the first of his two tries at the stroke of half time as Clermont Auvergne had a lead of 14-0.
Northampton clearly were left frustrated with referee Ben Whitehouse as he ruled out a Northampton try in the first half for a knock-on when Courtney Lawes seemed to legitimately dislodge the ball from Cassang's grasp for Dylan Hartley to pounce and five minutes later the England captain was sin-binned when his arm accidentally hit Rabah Slimani in the face.
The French side capitalised on the momentum and Cassang once again crossed over at the start of the second half to make it 19-0 in favour of Clermont. Even though Christian Day opened Northampton's account with a try in the 57th minute and Harry Mallinder followed it with a conversion, a 64th minute touchdown from replacement Etienne Falgoux ensured a bonus point victory for Clermont.