Tigers tamed by Clermont

Leicester’s Heineken Cup ambitions were dealt a blow as they were comprehensively beaten 30-12 by Clermont Auvergne in France on Sunday.

The defeat means the Tigers sit third in Pool Four and must now overcome Clermont when they make the trip to Welford Road in the next round of matches.

The French outfit were inspired by a man-of-the-match performance from centre Wesley Fofana who scored two second-half tries, while Morgan Parra added 15 points with the boot.

Julien Malzieu had notched a crucial first try for Clermont just before half-time which ensured the hosts went in with an 11-point advantage at the break, having trailed early on to an opportunist Ben Youngs score.

Leicester were also awarded a penalty try late on but ended the contest well beaten, having had both Manu Tuilagi and George Chutersimultaneously sin-binned for high tackles in the second period.

Clermont hit the front on three minutes, Parra kicking his first penalty after Tom Croft was penalised for pulling down an airborne Julien Pierre at the line-out.

Toby Flood missed a chance to level after the hosts were pinged for collapsing a scrum, but they made amends on 12 minutes when Youngs was on hand following a rapid counter-attack.

With Clermont on the attack, fly-half Brock James saw his attempted grubber kick blocked and then fly-hacked up the field by Flood. James got back to collect the ball but was immediately met by a welcoming committee of Matt Smith and Steve Mafi who, along with Manu Tuilagi, secured the turnover with the England centre feeding international team-mate Youngs, who nipped up the touchline to score in the corner.

Flood pushed his conversion attempt wide and that allowed Parra to restore the home side’s lead with a second penalty when Martin Castrogiovanni was penalised for collapsing the scrum.


The visitors then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure but saw it come to nothing as Manu Tuilagi was penalised for a forward pass to brother Alesana as the Tigers pressed the Clermont try-line.

Their frustration was compounded when Croft was pulled up for coming in at the side allowing to Parra punish him by kicking his third penalty of the half.

Things then took a real turn for the worse for the Tigers on 37 minutes when James’ up and under was spilled by Alesana Tuilagi under pressure from the onrushing Aurelien Rougerie. Fofana nipped in to retrieve possession and Parra quickly spun out for Malzieu to thunder over on a great line from close range – Parra added the extras to make the scoreline 16-5.

Leicester started the second half on the front foot and turned down a kick at the posts in search of a try, but some swarming defence from the hosts drove them back and eventually averted the danger.

The game then turned on the 50-minute mark when the Tigers lost both Chuter and Manu Tuilagi for high shots on Parra and Vincent Debaty within moments of each other, although the visitors were pleased to see Parra miss the subsequent penalty.

However, the pressure and numerical deficit told just three minutes later when the impressive Fofana broke through the visitors’ depleted defence from inside the 22 and stretched over to touch down. Parra booted the conversion to move his side 18 points clear.

Fofana killed the game on 66 minutes as he raced on to a delightfully judged grubber from James to collect ahead of Croft and dive over next to the posts, leaving the Leicester back-rower grasping at thin air. Parra again converted.

The visitors did have the last word when, with no hesitation, referee Alain Rolland opted to award a penalty try after Clermont wheeled and then disintegrated a scrum as Leicester got a heave on from close range.

Flood converted from in front of the sticks but it proved little more than a late consolation, although Leicester did defend resolutely in the closing stages to deny their opponents a fourth try and a bonus point.