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Clermont 22 - Paris 6
What a difference a week can make! Following on from their poor showing against Montauban 7 days earlier, Clermont showed that rugby is still all about attitude in their vital home game against Paris.
The local support certainly helped as, a bit like their team, they were much like their usual vociferous selves ensuring a great atmosphere despite the constant drizzle. It was always going to be a game dominated by the boot and the high ball, and Clermont showed more competence in adapting to this tactic from early on in the game. Indeed after only 4 minutes the impeccable Baby fielded the first Garryowen, beat two defenders, and fed Nalaga who charged off up the field, he linked with Joubert who perfectly fixed the last defender before passing to Mignoni on the loop, who sent his 3 foot frame scurrying under the posts for the first score. James converted.
Paris were trying desperately to get some kind of hold on the game, but were always second best to a more tactically astute Clermont side, guided by James and Mignoni. The home side’s set piece was dominant in both scrum and lineout, rarely giving the Parisians a platform to work from.. Two first half penalties from Beauxis were all that they managed to achieve in the game, their cause not been aided by talisman Hernandez having a bit of a shocker. James kept the scoreboard ticking over with 4 further penalties, broken only by a fantastic 54 metre drop goal by Benoit Baby. Clermont finished deserved winners showing real grit and determination, a weeks rest follows before the trip down the road to Brive.