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Clermont 29 - Perpignan 9
Having beaten Biarritz the previous week, Perpignan travelled north to Clermont-ferrand reasonably confident. But their aspirations dropped as progressively as the temperature, as Clermont took them to task from the off.
Both sides were under-strength from international commitments and injury, and Clermont started furiously, their forwards hitting every breakdown aggressively and the quick ball that ensued being intelligently used by their backs. An icy wind favoured the home side in the first half – winter having definitely arrived! – but thankfully the game was of sufficient intensity to keep the crowd warm. A Brock James penalty was matched by a Melé drop goal, before the Clermont no.10 further extended the lead with a well taken individual try that he converted. Indeed James showed his organisational class throughout the game with excellent tactical awareness, certainly aided by the quality ball he was given. He added four more penalties before the break to Porical’s two, giving a half time score of 15 – 12.
Clermont started the second half as they had the first, dominating play. Big Elvis Vermeulen finished of a typical rhino like charge with a try in the corner, and Clermont were out of sight. The only disappointment was the lack of a third bonus point try, and indeed they had ample ball and time from which they could score. A slight anti-climax at the end then, but Clermont move to fifth, and travel to Mont de Marsan next week, before the double header against Munster in the H-Cup.