European Rugby Champions Cup 2014-15

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European Champions Cup
Three-try Clermont see off Munster
ESPN Staff
December 14, 2014
Report Match details
Date/Time: Dec 14, 2014, 16:15 local, 15:15 GMT
Venue: Stade Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand
Clermont Auvergne 26 - 19 Munster
Half-time: 15 - 6
Tries: Chouly 2, Nakaitaci
Cons: Lopez
Pens: Lopez 3
Tries: Casey
Cons: Keatley
Pens: Keatley 4
Clermont's Noa Nakaitaci is congratulated on his try, Clermont Auvergne v Munster, European Champions Cup, Stade Marcel-Michelin, December 14, 2014
Noa Nakaitaci scored Clermont's second try
© Getty Images
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Clermont re-took top spot in Pool 1 thanks to a 26-19 win over Munster on Sunday.

Munster had never lost the back-to-back contests of rounds three and four but Clermont became the first to do that double over the former champions following their historic 16-9 win at Thomond Park a week earlier. It means Clermont are in the box seat to get automatic qualification to the quarter-finals after they moved a point clear at the top of a hugely competitive pool. They now sit one ahead of Saracens, with Munster third on 10 points.

The match was a fast and furious contest but - while Munster gave it their all - it was Clermont who had the class where it mattered most in the backs. Munster started strongly and went six points clear with two Ian Keatley penalties - and his injury-time effort earned them a losing bonus point - but Clermont produced some glorious flowing rugby to conjure up a couple of memorable tries.

Wesley Fofana was one of those weaving his magic and Munster simply ran out of defenders for skipper Damien Chouly to finish off a magnificent team try for Clermont's first. Then, just before the break, a scintillating solo effort from wing Noa Nakaitaci produced another contender for try of the tournament and Camille Lopez's conversion made it 15-6 at the break.

Munster had contested every scrap of possession with great intensity - Paul O'Connell always in the thick of things - but a yellow card for full back Felix Jones for a trip on outside half Lopez, who ended up with 11 points from the boot, left them a man short and facing an even higher mountain to climb.

Clermont had the upper hand in the scrums while Munster had their best moments at the breakdown but, when it came to posing threats with the ball in hand, Lopez sending a pinpoint cross kick for Chouly to collect and cross for his second and Clermont's third despite the best efforts of Simon Zebo.

Hooker Duncan Casey finally found the way to the Clermont line late on and Keatley converted but Clermont had already done the damage.

Aurelien Rougerie finds himself at the centre of attention © Getty Images
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