After completing our run-through of Heineken Champions Cup Pool A teams, we now turn to the Pool B contenders, beginning with ASM Clermont Auvergne, three-time runners-up.

Heineken Champions Cup record

Clermont reached the final of EPCR’s elite competition for the first time in 2013, beating Montpellier Hérault Rugby (36-14) and Munster Rugby (16-10) in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

They would be defeated 16-15 by TOP 14 rivals RC Toulon in the showpiece game at the Aviva Stadium, but were back in the final again two years later after knockout stage victories against Northampton Saints (37-5) and Saracens (13-9).

The trophy eluded them once again as Toulon clinched a 24-18 win at Twickenham Stadium, but a third final in five years came in 2017.

Clermont exacted some revenge on Toulon with a 29-9 quarter-final win before seeing off Leinster Rugby 27-22 in the semi-finals, but claiming the title proved a step too far again as Saracens triumphed 28-17 at BT Murrayfield Stadium.

Last season

Clermont progressed from Pool B with a fifth-place finish after overcoming Sale Sharks 25-19 in Round 3, a crucial win amid coronavirus disruption and two defeats at the hands of Ulster Rugby.

They took on Leicester Tigers in the two-legged Round of 16, slipping to a 29-10 loss at Stade Marcel-Michelin before losing 27-17 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as the Gallagher Premiership outfit advanced as 56-27 aggregate winners.

Head coach

Jono Gibbes took the reins at Clermont in 2021 after guiding Stade Rochelais to the Heineken Champions Cup final.

He began his coaching career in charge of Leinster’s forwards, helping the Irish province win the Heineken Cup in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

He then took on the same role at Clermont between 2014 and 2017, a period which saw him earn further experience of EPCR finals, before spending a year as Ulster Rugby head coach.

Eight-time All Black Gibbes, who was a flanker or lock during his playing days, was briefly involved with Waikato in his home country before taking charge at La Rochelle in 2018.

Key players

Yohan Beheregaray is a reliable hooker while French international duo Arthur Iturria and Judicaël Cancoriet, and Samoan veteran Fritz Lee, are experienced options in the back row.

Fly-half Anthony Belleau will be a key figure for Clermont this season having joined from Toulon in the summer, while the scintillating Damian Penaud will be a continued threat on the wing or at centre.

Wing Alivereti Raka is another superb runner with excellent footwork, while Cheikh Tiberghien is an exciting young prospect at full-back.

Pool fixtures

Clermont welcome Heineken Champions Cup debutants DHL Stormers to Stade Marcel-Michelin in their opening Pool B contest on December 10, before travelling to Leicester Tigers a week later.

They host the Gallagher Premiership side in Round 3 on January 13 before concluding their pool stage with a trip to Cape Town to face DHL Stormers on January 21.