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Clermont hoping to clinch last eight spot with win over Northampton

Tuesday 8th January 2019

3:41 pm (GMT)

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Andrew Kellaway of Northampton Saints and Isaiah Toeava of Clermont Auvergne dive for a loose ball

Former Challenge Cup winners ASM Clermont Auvergne and Northampton Saints meet on Saturday night with the French side looking to secure a spot in the Challenge Cup knockout stages with victory.

  • ASM Clermont Auvergne and Northampton Saints have met six times in Europe with the TOP 14 side claiming victory in five of those games (L1), including their only Challenge Cup meeting in Round 1 this season.
  • Clermont are the only club with a 100% record and a maximum 20 points after four games.
  • Clermont have won all 27 of their Challenge Cup home games, 21 of those victories coming by more than 10 points.
  • Northampton have won 15 of their last 16 Challenge Cup games, lifting the trophy twice in that run; their only defeat in that spell coming against Clermont this season.
  • Northampton have recorded the best lineout success rate this season (95%), while Clermont have the second-best rate (94%).
  • Clermont’s Peter Betham has made 12 clean breaks, more than any other player, while only Carlo Canna of Zebre Rugby Club (4 tries, 5 assists) has been directly involved in more tries than the Australian (8 – 4 tries, 4 assists).
  • Pato Fernandez has slotted all 10 of his kicks at goal for Clermont, no other player has attempted as many without missing at least one.

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Clermont clinch 13-try thriller against Northampton to win Pool 1

Saturday 12th January 2019

10:13 pm (GMT)

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Clermont clinch 13-try thriller against Northampton to win Pool 1

Peceli Yato of Clermont Auvergne

ASM Clermont Auvergne win Pool 1 and guarantee a home quarter-final after edging past Northampton Saints in a breathless 13-try encounter at the Stade Marcel Michelin, triumphing 48-40.

The TOP 14 leaders wrapped up the try-scoring bonus point in the first period with tries from Sitaleki Timani, Peceli Yato, Peter Betham and Wesley Fofana all crossing for Clermont.

The Stade Marcel Michelin was treated to a frenetic start with four tries in the opening 10 minutes, including two from Northampton’s Fraser Dingwall and James Fish – which put the visitors ahead.

The home side rallied with tries from Yato, Betham and Fofana – and a Morgan Parra penalty – ensuring a healthy 27-12 lead at the break for Clermont.

However, Northampton fought valiantly to get back into the game with England international Teimana Harrison crossing either side of Fofana’s second try for Clermont.

In-form scrum-half Cobus Reinbach got on the end of a terrific Lewis Ludlow break to close the gap once more to a single point but Betham stretched Clermont’s lead soon after, collecting his second try.

Back-rower Harrison completed his hat-trick for the Saints to put them back within a point and threatening Clermont’s 27-match unbeaten run in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

But Clermont’s Remi Grosso crossed the whitewash late on and Greig Laidlaw’s conversion ensured Northampton went home with just a try-scoring bonus point.

Northampton Saints face a must-win fixture next weekend as they host Timisoara Saracens, while Clermont travel to Newport to face Dragons.

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