Clermont's teenager adds to Bath's misery
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Clermont Auvergne got their Pool 3 campaign back on track with a convincing 34-17 bonus-point win over Bath on Friday at The Rec – with two tries from debutant Samuel Ezeala.
Bath started the brighter of the two sides and got the first try on 13 minutes through Rhys Priestland.
Clermont attempted to chase the flyhalf down inside their own 22 but as Camille Lopez slipped, Priestland sprinted past and had the simple task of dotting down in the mud. The flyhalf would then convert his own try to put the hosts 7-0.
Just before the half-hour mark, Clermont responded as a driving maul collapsed but Morgan Parra was clever with penalty advantage and found George Moala who broke three tackles and dived over the line. Parra then slotted over the tricky conversion.
That would be the end of the scoring for the first half, with three penalties – two from Greig Laidlaw and one from Priestland – the other side of the interval putting Clermont 13-10 ahead after 52 minutes.
From that point, the visitors took over. On 66 minutes, Samuel Ezeala – on his Champions Cup debut – took advantage of a string of wonderful offloads as he spun and dotted down near the posts despite plenty of pressure.
And from that kick-off, Fritz Lee powered clear before playing in Ezeala with a superb pick up and a delightful offload under the tackle to Alexandre Lapandry for the second try in as many minutes.
Ezeala then grabbed a second try of his own to kill off the match on 72 minutes after a lovely grubber from Camille Lopez found the 19-year-old who dived over for the easiest Cup try he will ever score.
Jonathan Joseph would grab a consolation try for the hosts but to no avail as Clermont secured all five points ahead of the return clash next Sunday.
Tries: Priestland, Joseph
Cons: Priestland, Burns
Tries: Moala, Ezeala 2, Lapandry
Cons: Parra, Laidlaw 3
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Francois Louw (captain), 7 Josh Bayliss, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Rhys Davies, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Aled Brew.
Clermont Auvergne: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Samuel Ezeala, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 George Moala, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra (captain), 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Alexandre Fischer, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Yohan Beheregaray, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Giorgi Beria, 18 Davit Zirakashvili, 19 Julien Ruaud, 20 Faifili Levave, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Peter Betham, 23 Apisai Naqalevu.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
👉🏼 #BRASM Victoire importante de nos auvergnats sur le score de 34-17 face à BATH !
👉🏼 Homme du match George MOALA 🏈
— ASM Rugby (@ASMOfficiel) December 6, 2019