Match Centre: Clermont Auvergne 29-44 Leicester Tigers

Handre Pollard contributed with 14 points
Handre Pollard contributed with 14 points
©Steve Haag

Clermont Auvergne 29-44 Leicester Tigers, Stade Marcel-Michelin

Leicester Tigers have booked a berth in the round of 16 as they defeated Clermont 44-29 in the latest round of the Heineken Champions Cup at Stade Marcel-Michelin.

Leicester made a strong start to the game as Anthony Belleau floated a pass to Matthew Scott for the opening try and Handre Pollard kicked the conversion to make it 0-7.

Pollard missed a three-pointer but made amends with his first penalty kick in the 20th minute as Clermont were punished for infringement taking the visitors' lead to 0-10.

The first response from Clermont came in the 23rd minute as as centre Irae Simone superbly went past the Leicester defence to dive in the corner. Belleau followed with the conversion to reduce the gap down to three points.

Nevertheless, Leicester seized their lead back as Harry Simmons showed great skills and worked past Clermont defence to dot down and shortly the hosts were down to 14 players temporarily with No.8 Fritz Lee sin-binned for a high tackle on scrum-half Ben Youngs.

The closing stage of the opening half saw Dan Kelly and hooker Etienne Fourcade exchange tries before Pollard with another three-pointer ensuring the visitors headed into the break with a 14-27 lead.

Clermont were the quickest to get off the block in the second half as Belleau pounced on a loose ball to score before Scott completed his second following a brilliant set piece making it 19-34.

Clermont though were unwilling to relent as Jedrasiak touched down in the 48th minute and Belleau improved it to bring down the gap to 10 points setting up a nervy finish. The start of the final 10 minutes saw Belleau and Jimmy Gopperth trade penalties as the scoreline became 29-37 before James Cronin powered over to drive Leicester to a pleasing victory.

Team line up:

Clermont: Newsome; Delguy, Tiberghien, Simone, Raka; Belleau, Jauneau; Bibi Biziwu, Pelissie, Slimani, Jedrasiak, Amatosero, Cancoriet, Fischer, Lee.

Reserves: Fourcade, Beria, Kubriashvili, Annandale, Tixeront, Bezy, Plisson, Moala.

Leicester: Atkinson; Steward, Scott, Kelly, Simmons; Pollard, Youngs (capt); Whitcombe, Clare, Heyes, Wells, Henderson, Chessum, Reffell, Jansen.

Reserves: Taufete's, Cronin, Hurd, Cracknell, Ilione, Van Poortvliet, Gopperth, Potter.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table