Leicester into Champions Cup last 16 with record win at Clermont Auvergne

With the scoreline getting away from the hosts, they needed a riposte. And, in Raka, they have the embodiment of spontaneity. The wing, out of nothing, left Pollard for dead and was stopped only by a phenomenal cover tackle from Charlie Atkinson. But the damage had already been done and, once Clermont were in behind, a Simone offload put Etienne Fourcade over in the corner.

Leicester ended the half strongly, however, with their young front row winning a mighty scrum penalty, which Pollard converted.

There was a predictable rear-guard from Clermont. Two quickfire tries at the start of the second half – the first for Belleau after a fortunate bounce, the second for lock Paul Jedrasiak after a gorgeous dummy – put the hosts back in contention. Interspersed with those two scores, the Tigers scored a handsome try of their own to keep their noses in front: straight off the training ground, Pollard put Freddie Steward through a hole, before the wing drew Newsome to give Scott his second.

With nine tries, this was a flawed classic, and Belleau’s late penalty set up a five-point, grandstand finish. But Gopperth and Cronin’s heroics at the death put Leicester back on the straight and narrow.

Match details

Scoring sequence: 0-5 Scott try, 0-7 Pollard con, 0-10 Pollard pen, 5-10 Delguy try, 7-10 Belleau con, 7-15 Simmons try, 7-17 Pollard con, 7-22 Kelly try, 7-24 Pollard con, 12-24 Fourcade try, 14-24 Belleau con, 14-27 Pollard pen, 19-27 Belleau try, 19-32 Scott try, 19-34 Pollard con, 24-34 Jedrasiak try, 26-34 Belleau con, 29-34 Belleau pen, 29-37 Gopperth pen, 29-42 Cronin try, 29-44 Gopperth con.
H-T: 14-2
Clermont starting XV: A Newsome; B Delguy, C Tiberghien, I Simone, A Raka; A Belleau, B Jauneau (S Bezy 70); D Bibi Biziwu (G Beria 50), A Pelissie (E Fourcade 4), R Slimani (D Kubriashvili 54), P Jedrasiak (E Annandale 64), M Amatosero, J Cancoriet, A Fischer, F Lee (K Tixeront 76).
Replacements unused: J Plisson, G Moala.
Yellow card: F Lee
Leicester starting XV: C Atkinson; F Steward, M Scott (H Potter 50), D Kelly, H Simmons; H Pollard (J Gopperth 61), B Youngs (c) (J Van Poortvliet 54); J Whitcombe (J Cronin 50, Whitcombe 79), C Clare (J Taufete’e 79), J Heyes (W Hurd 63), H Wells, C Henderson, O Chessum, T Reffell (E Ilione 80), S Jansen (O Cracknell 56).
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Attendance: 14,000

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