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

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.
Sep 10th 2017, 11:38 AM 7,952 1

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.

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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.

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