Fourteen-man Leicester too good for Clermont
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Leicester Tigers produced an impressive display to win 29-10 at ASM Clermont Auvergne in the Champions Cup Round of 16 first leg on Sunday.
The Premiership side led with an hour played thanks to tries from Ellis Genge, Julian Montoya, Jack van Poortvliet and Hosea Saumaki, and added a fifth try through Harry Potter when playing with 14 men after Guy Porter was sent off.
Clermont went over through Cheik Tiberghien early on, but Leicester fought back and will take a healthy lead into the second leg at Welford Road on Saturday.
A 50-22 from scrumhalf Morgan Parra put Clermont on the front foot on 10 minutes, and moments later they scored the first try of the game, piecing together a beautiful move to exploit space out wide and send wing Tiberghien over.
Leicester responded with a try on their first meaningful visit to the Clermont 22m, prop Genge powering over from close range.
Parra extended Clermont’s lead with a penalty on 28 minutes, but Leicester had their second try shortly after as hooker Montoya squeezed over after a maul went to ground.
With Parra adding the extras to Clermont’s score and flyhalf George Ford unable to convert either of Leicester’s efforts, the two teams when into the break level – a speculative drop-goal from flyhalf Camille Lopez drifted wide for the hosts in the closing stages of the half.
Leicester started brightly in the second half and they took lead when scrumhalf van Poortvliet darted down the blind side and over the whitewash following a maul.
A fourth score came on 54 minutes as wing Saumaki was found in acres of room out wide, Ford’s first conversion of the afternoon extending Tigers’ advantage to 12 points.
However, centre Porter was sent off after clashing heads with Clermont No.8 Fritz Lee off the ball, and Leicester were left to play the remaining 20 minutes with 14 men.
But the visitors were undeterred, scoring a fifth try moments later as fullback Freddie Steward, who was dominant in the air all afternoon, claiming a high ball and offloading to wing Potter who finished superbly.
Montoya almost grabbed his second of the game and Leicester’s sixth on 70 minutes, but he grounded the ball just short of the line following a maul.
Clermont were unable to threaten over the remainder of the game, and Leicester will take a 19-point lead into the second leg next week.
Tries: Genge, Montoya, Van Poortvliet, Saumaki, Potter
Cons: Ford 2
Red card: Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 59)
Clermont: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Alivereti Raka, 13 George Moala, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Cheik Tiberghien, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Fischer, 6 Judicaël Cancoriet, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina (captain), 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Etienne Fourcade, 1 Giorgi Beria.
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Cristian Ojovan, 19 Miles Amatosero, 20 Lucas Dessaigne, 21 Kevin Viallard, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Marvin O’Connor.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Calum Green, 4 Ollie Chessum, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Ellis Genge (captain).
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 James Whitcombe, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Eli Snyman, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Matías Moroni.
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Peter Martin (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)