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Just the 70 home wins in a row for Clermont Auvergne

Elsewhere in the Top 14, James Hart and Andrew Farley started for Grenoble as they defeated champions Castres.

File picture of Nathan Hines and Gerhard Vosloo celebrate a Heineken Cup home win over Montpellier in April.
File picture of Nathan Hines and Gerhard Vosloo celebrate a Heineken Cup home win over Montpellier in April.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

CLERMONT RACKED UP a 70th straight home win and extended their lead at the top of the French Top 14 with a 33-19 victory over Oyonnax.

Fijian born wing Noa Nakaitaci was the architect in the first half, scoring a brilliant 60-yard individual try before making a second break and teeing up Samoan No.8 Fritz Lee to go over. Clermont’s unbeaten run at the Stade Marcel Michelin now stretches back over four seasons.

Nakataici’s score was pure genius as he took the ball from the back of a breakdown, looped around the forwards and burst through a gap in Oyonnax’s defensive line before chipping ahead and winning the foot-race to touch down. However, Clermont were denied a bonus point by a spirited second-half display from the second division champions.

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Noa Nakaitaci in action against Scarlets earlier this season. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Centre Pierre Aguillon and South African hooker Jody Jenneker both went over either side of France hooker Benjamin Kayser’s try for the hosts to at least demonstrate third-from-bottom Oyonnax’s ability to cause problems at this level, although the lack of a bonus point keeps them hovering perilously just three points above the relegation places.

Clermont moved provisionally six points clear at the top while Stade Francais recorded their third successive home success with a 19-12 win over Perpignan in a scrappy and hot-tempered encounter.

Grenoble maintained their own fine home form and ended Castres’s three-match winning run with a 20-16 success that could see the champions drop as low as fifth by the end of the weekend.

Tries from South African prop Albertus Buckle and Fijian wing Alipate Ratini gave Grenoble victory despite Fiji centre Seremaia Bai’s score for Castres, who had to content themselves with a losing bonus point.

Scrum-half James Hart contributed eight Grenoble points from the kicking tee while fellow Irishman Andrew Farley started in the second row.

© AFP 2013

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