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Bourgoin 23 - Clermont 30
Clermont get that win on the road to stay with the « Big Four »
Clermont achieved their first win on the road this season thanks to a mid-game blitz which proved decisive against a typically combative Bourgoin team. The home side was desperate to avoid a third home defeat, and seemed more settled at their Peirre Rajon stadium following their game at Grenoble’s football stadium last week. They certainly came out of their changing room with all guns blazing, and dominated the early exchanges playing in the Clermont 22, and were rewarded with a Parra drop goal after only 2 mins. The French international scrum-half was playing at 10, after Benjamin Boyet failed a late fitness test. Continued Bourgoin pressure led to Anthony Floch being charged down, South African Coetzee gratefully scooping up the ball for the first try. Clermont clawed their way back into the game after the initial fire had subsided and started to play some quick and open rugby. Two Brock James penalties gave a score of 10-6 at half time as the two teams returned to the famously “cosy” changing rooms.
Clermont’s quick paced game continued after the break, with James and Pierre Mignoni controlling play, the latter was the inspiration for Clermont’s first try after 47 mins, setting Anthony Floch then Mario Ledesma off down the blind side to feed Julien Malzieu who danced down the touchline before cutting in to score under the posts. James converted. Bourgoin’s scrum pressure told once again, and the resulting penalty kept them in touch at 13-13. ASM were in no mood to let the pace of the game drop however, and some good phase play and movement, led to James flicking the ball inside to Nalaga. The Suva Express train skittled a few Bourgoin defenders to ‘butterfly dive’ in for the second Clermont try. His hand-off on Coux will leave the Bourgoin winger nursing a palm shaped bruise for a few weeks to come ! Clermont’s final try after a Mignoni breakn (70 min) completely stretched Bourgoins defense and James ghosted through under the posts to confirm the “Yellow and Blue” domination of the second half. The game was as good as over, but Bourgoin continued to battle on and scored two final tries from Nicholas and Basson in the final 8 minutes - disappointment for Clermont after their fine defensive showings in recent weeks. The game finished 23-30, and the competition now takes a break for two weeks for the Heineken Cup.