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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019
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Trinh-Duc holds nerve to condemn Clermont to another home defeat

Suddenly, the Auvergne-based club don’t look so dangerous at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

Trinh-Duc was the hero for Montpellier.
Trinh-Duc was the hero for Montpellier.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

FRANCE INTERNATIONAL FRANCOIS Trinh-Duc kicked a last-minute penalty for Montpellier to condemn Clermont to a 21-20 home defeat in the Top 14 last night.

Clermont’s previously unblemished record at the fortress of Stade Marcel-Michelin is suddenly in shaky territory after two defeats in recent months. The Auvergne-based club also lost to Castres at home in the barrages [quarter-final] stages of last season’s league, having enjoyed a remarkable record in Clermont in the years before that.

Under now-departed head coach Vern Cotter, ASM had racked up 77 consecutive unbeaten games at the Marcel-Michelin over the course of five seasons.

However, four penalties and two drop-goals from Trinh-Duc, as well as a further three points from Benoit Paillaugue, saw Fabien Galthié’s Montpellier return south with four points last night.

No. 8 Fritz Lee scored a try for Clermont, while Brock James kicked five penalties, but the Franck Azéma and Jono Gibbes-coached side could not muster enough points to provide a further cushion on the scoreboard before Trinh-Duc’s long-range winner.

Welsh centre Jonathan Davies and France sensation Wesley Fofana were paired together in the centre for the first time, although that partnership may take time to begin firing on all attacking cylinders.

Source: BowserX4/YouTube

Montpellier’s achievement is all the more impressive for the fact that their recent record in Clermont includes a number of heavy defeats.

Clermont had won their opening two games of the league season, beating Brive and Grenoble, so there is no sense of anxiety over the quality in their squad. However, two home defeats in a matter of months is something les Jaunards’ fans will take some getting used to.

Munster must travel to the Stade Marcel-Michelin in December for their Champions Cup pool clash with Clermont.

Anthony Foley got his first win as Munster coach tonight

Sean O’Brien and Stuart Olding will start tomorrow’s Leinster v Ulster friendly

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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