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Leicester Tigers will be looking to maintain their 100%-win record in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and complete the double over ASM Clermont Auvergne when they visit Stade Marcel-Michelin in Round 3 on Friday night.
The game will be Richard Wigglesworth’s first Heineken Champions Cup game as Leicester head coach, with the former scrum-half turning out as a replacement in both their wins for far.
Under the guidance of now-England boss Steve Borthwick, Leicester claimed a 23-17 victory at Ospreys in Round 1, before defeating Clermont 23-16 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road to sit third in Pool B.
Clermont’s 24-14 win over United Rugby Championship winners DHL Stormers in Round 1 has left them in eighth in the pool and underlined their danger at home.
Since their Heineken Champions Cup Round 2 meeting, Leicester have won once in three Gallagher Premiership games, while Clermont have managed the same record in the TOP 14.
The Round 3 contest in Clermont-Ferrand kicks off at 20:00 (UK & Irish time) and is available to watch on BT Sport, beIN SPORTS, SuperSport and FloRugby.
GAME WEEK 🤩
Here’s a reminder of how it stands heading into #HeinekenChampionsCup Round 3️⃣ 👇 https://t.co/twnfpdfzlr
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 9, 2023
Leicester Tigers back-row forward Hanro Liebenberg: “Clermont are a team who pride themselves on being successful at home in Europe and we know they will be looking for a big performance.”
ASM Clermont Auvergne
- Of the players in Round 2 who didn’t miss a tackle, Alexandre Fischer came out on top with 19.
- Clermont have the lowest conversion rate in the opposition 22. Of their 22 visits to the red zone, a competition-low 31.8% have resulted in a try or a penalty.
- Jules Plisson and Anthony Belleau are Clermont’s top points-scorers with 14 and 11 respectively. However, while Belleau’s goalkicking success rate is 100%, Plisson’s is 67%.
- Jasper Wiese made the joint-most carries in Round 2 (20). He also made the most metres in contact (44).
- Hanro Liebenberg won 12 lineouts in the previous round – more than any other player.
- Charlie Atkinson has succeeded with all 10 kicks at goal in the competition so far – which is the highest number for a player yet to miss. He has also made the most metres from penalty kicks (53).
- Leicester have won just 50% of scrums on their own put-in.
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Leicester Tigers preserved their 100%-win record in Heineken Champions Cup Pool B and confirmed their place in the Round of 16 as they claimed an impressive 44-29 win at ASM Clermont Auvergne on Friday night.
The visitors secured the bonus point through tries from Matt Scott (2), Harry Simmons, Dan Kelly and James Cronin at the Stade Marcel-Michelin. 14 points from the boot of Handré Pollard also proved vital.
Clermont were no pushovers, and showcased their quality with scores from Bautista Delguy, Etienne Fourcade, Paul Jedrasiak and Anthony Belleau.
Clermont made a disastrous start to the game and handed Leicester an early try as fly-half Anthony Belleau floated pass into the midfield which centre Scott picked off to race in under the posts from halfway.
Fly-half Pollard was off target with a penalty shortly after, but eventually punished Clermont for another error as he slotted from the tee on 20 minutes.
STEP OF THE SEASON 🤯
Harry Simmons does two Clermont defenders in a post-box for a sensational solo score for @LeicesterTigers 👌👌👌#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/2HsrMSIn8h
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 13, 2023
However, Clermont sprung into life moments later as centre Irae Simone scooped up brilliantly before beating a defender and offloading to wing Delguy, who darted over in the corner.
Leicester found a response on 29 minutes as wing Simmons produced some electric footwork to weave through the Clermont defence and finish superbly, and there was a further setback for the home side when No.8 Fritz Lee was sin-binned for a high shot on scrum-half Ben Youngs.
Centre Kelly then twisted to dot down on 33 minutes as Leicester looked set to punish Clermont with an extra man on the field, but the TOP 14 outfit kept themselves in the contest as a move started by wing Alivereti Raka – who was a threat all night – was eventually finished off by replacement hooker Fourcade.
Leicester were 13 points clear at the break, though, as Pollard, who had converted all three scores, dispatched a penalty from near halfway in the final act of the first 40 minutes.
The tries continued to flow early in the second half as Belleau pounced on a loose ball to reduce the deficit seconds after the restart before a brilliant set piece move from Leicester put Scott over under the posts again.
This game is bonkers 🤯@LeicesterTigers slicing through just minutes after Clermont hit back…#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/LOIhVacH53
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 13, 2023
But Clermont refused to roll over and notched a fourth try courtesy of another flowing move, lock Jedrasiak throwing an outrageous dummy to provide the finish.
The scoring slowed over the remainder of the half as Clermont pushed for a fifth score but were met with firm Leicester resistance.
A Belleau penalty on 70 minutes set up a tense finale as Clermont moved to within five points, but replacement fly-half Jimmy Gopperth extended Leicester’s advantage with kick of his own before prop Cronin powered over in the dying seconds to cap their victory.
The two sides’ Pool B campaigns are wrapped up next weekend, with Leicester hosting Ospreys on Friday and Clermont facing DHL Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
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