This maths mistake by Clermont proved so costly

Clermont Auvergne crashed out of the European Champions Cup after getting their sums wrong in a dramatic finish to their final Pool 2 match at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

The home side would have progressed o the quarter-finals with a losing bonus point but they failed to realise the significance of a last-minute penalty awarded to them in front of the posts and, instead of going for goal, ran the ball in a vain attempt to score a fifth try.

Clermont had led 28-20 after 62 minutes but conceded 17 points while down to 14 men with Julien Bardy in the sin-bin to suffer a 37-28 loss to Bordeaux-Begles.

It ended Clermont’s 25-game winning run at home in Europe going back to 2008 as they finished bottom of the group in which Exeter booked a place in the knock-out stages thanks to a bonus-point win over Ospreys.

Clermont, who began the day two points behind Ospreys, made a dream start by racing into a 14-0 lead after six minutes thanks to tries from Jonathan Davies and Noa Nakaitaci, both converted by Morgan Parra.

However, forwards Berend Botha and Sebastien Taofifenua both powered over for tries, goaled by Lionel Beauxis, as Bordeaux drew level and two penalties from Baptiste Serin either side of half-time put them 20-14 in front.

When Damien Chouly and Paul Jedrasiak went over for quickfire tries, Clermont looked to have booked their last-eight berth but Bordeaux made full use of the extra man, with Paulin Riva and Peter Saili scoring tries that broke the hearts of the home fans.

Meanwhile Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill is delighted to have home advantage when his side meet Stade Francais again in the European Champions Cup.

Stade secured the bonus-point victory they needed to reach the quarter-finals courtesy of being one of the three best runners-up with a 36-21 Pool 4 win against the Tigers at Stade Jean Bouin, and their reward is a trip to Welford Road in April.

And Cockerill, whose side have already beaten the Top 14 champions at home this season, is eagerly awaiting the tie.

He said: “You go into a one-off game in the quarter-final and they’re all good teams who have come through. They’re all able to beat each other.

“We’ll be happy to be at home because historically that gives you the best chance of going further and we’ll have a warm welcome for them. It will be a great occasion.

“Stade Francais are a good side, stacked with world-class players. I have a lot of admiration for the French sides and how they play the game, and we look forward to having them at Welford Road.” Leicester had already secured their ticket to the last eight, but were denied a sixth successive pool victory in France despite Manu Tuilagi’s first try since returning from a 15-month injury giving them an early lead.

Jules Plisson, Waisea Vuidarvuwalu and Rabah Slimani all scored tries in the space of 10 minutes to give the hosts a 19-7 half-time lead before Raphael Lakafia secured the all-important bonus point.

Dom Barrow and Harry Thacker hit back with tries for the Tigers but Geoffrey Doumayrou rounded off a dominant performance from the hosts.

“To be fair, Stade got what they deserved and what they needed out of the game, and they’ve showed that they’re good enough to beat anybody,” added Cockerill.

“I thought we played some really good stuff at times.”


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