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ASM Clermont Auvergne can take a huge step towards the Champions Cup quarterfinals on Saturday when they travel to face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens, live on Sky Sports. Clermont have won all four previous meetings between the clubs, scoring 33 points on average per game in that run and conceding just 11.
· This will be just the second time Northampton Saints have hosted Clermont. They met in the 2001/02 pool stage, with Clermont winning 21-15 at Franklin’s Gardens.
· Saints have lost their last five games in the Champions Cup, however they’ve lost just one of their last nine games when hosting TOP 14 opposition (W7, D1).
· Clermont are one of two clubs with a 100% win rate after four games (also Leinster), their best start to a campaign since winning all six pool stage matches in 2012/13.
· Saints have won just 11 turnovers so far, the fewest of any side, they also have the poorest scrum success rate (68%).
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Northampton Saints blew Pool 2 of the European Rugby Champions Cup wide open with their first victory of the competition, defeating runaway leaders ASM Clermont Auvergne 34-21 in a pulsating continental clash at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday evening.
- Remy Grosso’s second-minute try ensured a flying start for ASM Clermont Auvergne, but Northampton Saints offered a swift riposte as Teimana Harrison crashed over the whitewash to bring the hosts back within two points of the French giants, only for Isaia Toeava to race home and push the visitors to a 12-5 lead after 16 minutes.
- Replacement winger Nafi Tuitavake would cross in for Northampton Saints shortly after a Morgan Parra penalty to ensure the deficit was just five points at the interval, with many expecting the French side to return to dominate the second period.
- Yet hosts Northampton Saints would draw first blood after the break as Harry Mallinder slotted a penalty kick, only for Ben Foden to break away and score a sensational solo try, deserving of his Heineken Man of the Match merit come full time.
- French scrum-half Parra went on to add another two three-pointers as ASM Clermont Auvergne regained the lead and the Midlands atmosphere began exceptionally tense, but Northampton Saints had the bit between their teeth and eyes firmly set on a first Champions Cup win of the season.
- Tries from Ken Pisi and Cobus Reinach saw the Saints go marching in style with a shock victory, which leaves ASM Clermont Auvergne open at the Pool 2 summit, with just five points separating them from Ospreys who face defending champions Saracens later in the evening.
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