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Champions Clermont Auvergne hit with 7-try trouncing by La Rochelle

Meanwhile, former Ulster favourite Ruan Pienaar chipped in with 17 points for Montpellier against Castres.

La Rochelle and Clermont Auvergne clashed yesterday.
La Rochelle and Clermont Auvergne clashed yesterday.

LA ROCHELLE RAN in six first-half tries as they subjected Clermont Auvergne to a 51-20 demolition in the Top 14 yesterday, while Montpellier kept up their winning start to the campaign.

Gabriel Lacroix helped himself to a hat-trick as the champions were ruthlessly put to the sword – La Rochelle gaining a measure of revenge for missing out on the title, despite leading Clermont by seven points in last season’s table.

Clermont prop Raphael Chaume and wing Remy Grosso were sin-binned in a miserable first period for Clermont, the latter yellow carded for deliberately knocking on a pass which looked set for a try, resulting in a penalty score.

Trailing 43-6 at the break, Clermont’s woes continued when Lacroix completed his hat-trick after Camille Lopez fumbled the kick-off. Tries from Fritz Lee and Peter Betham did little to salve the champions’ wounds.

The pick of La Rochelle’s seven tries came just 40 seconds after kick-off when Lacroix finished off a stunning break which began inside their own 22.

Source: TOP 14 - Officiel/YouTube

Although they got the better of Toulon last week, Clermont are now third from bottom in the standings after three rounds of fixtures. Their campaign began with a defeat to Bordeaux a fortnight ago.

La Rochelle still trail Montpellier by five points at this early stage of the campaign, Vern Cotter maintaining a fine start to life in France with a 22-17 win at Castres.

Ruan Pienaar kept Montepllier in the contest, booting 17 of their points, including a penalty and the conversion of Nemani Nadolo’s try as the visitors produced a late burst to snatch the points.

Racing 92 ran in 15 unanswered second-half points to register a second win of the season by seeing off bottom club Brive 25-6, with Bordeaux two points adrift after beating Stade Francais 30-10 on home turf.

Oyonnax grabbed their first win of the campaign in a low-scoring affair against Agen, coming out on top 12-10.

Today, Pau host Lyon and Toulon are at home to Toulouse.

Connacht run four tries past the Kings in front of All-Ireland winning hurlers

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