Leicester pass Clermont test

Leicester pass Clermont test

Leicester Tigers made it back-to-back wins at the start of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup as they overcame ASM Clermont Auvergne 23-16 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday.

First-half tries from Jasper Wiese and Julian Montoya set Tigers on their way, with Charlie Atkinson contributing 13 points from the tee in an excellent kicking display.

Clermont were hampered by injuries and ill-discipline, but 11 points from the boot of Anthony Belleau and a late Sébastien Bézy try saw them snatch a losing bonus point.

Clermont enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and took the lead through two penalties from fly-half Belleau, but they lost two key figures as captain Arthur Iturria and lock Paul Jedrasiak were forced off.

Leicester seized the initiative from then on, No.8 Wiese scything through the Clermont rearguard to finish in the corner from 20 metres out.

Clermont’s discipline began to slip as the first half wore on, with Leicester continually allowed to kick for the corner – hooker Montoya eventually crashed over on 25 minutes following a driving maul.

Leicester were on top for the remainder of the half, and as Clermont’s penalty count rose, replacement No.8 Thibaud Lanen was sent to the sin bin.

Leicester opted to take three points through fly-half Atkinson and carried a 17-6 lead into the second half.

After Leicester wing Harry Potter was denied a try due to a forward pass, a scintillating Clermont break from deep resulted in a penalty which Belleau dispatched to reduce the deficit.

Atkinson re-established Leicester’s 11-point lead with a kick of his own three minutes later, and added another on 69 minutes as the home side closed the game out over the remainder of the half.

There was time for a Clermont try as scrum-half Bézy darted over in the final play, Belleau‘s conversion earning the TOP 14 side what could a be crucial extra point.

Leicester and Clermont go head-to-head again in Round 3 on January 13, this time at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

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