Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Billy Stickland/INPHO Fofana dives over for the game's decisive score.
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Clermont v Sarries could have put a crying baby to sleep but the only try was drop dead gorgeous
He and Wesley Fofana were in sync against Saracens.

IF YOU WATCHED yesterday’s Champions Cup semi-final then you are probably a little downbeat that you wasted two hours of your life on a very dull game of rugby when you could have been doing about 50 others things with your Saturday.

There were certainly things to admire about yesterday’s game between Clermont and Saracens – unfortunately most of them don’t usually result in high-scoring games of rugby.

Some of the forward play was exceptional. The Vunipola brothers were destructive going forward while both front rows took turns in dominating the other.

Behind the scrum though, things were a bleak enough. There were a lot of knock-ons and misplaced passes that ruined any chance of an end-to-end contest and it made for an underwhelming 13-9 Clermont win.

There was one moment of quality and it came from Brock James and Wesley Fofana. In the build-up to yesterday’s game a familiar comment was ‘when Clermont play well, Brock James is motoring and when Clermont play badly, Brock James has usually capitulated’.

Yesterday definitely spoke to that assessment, as the Australian tactically kicked very well throughout and was perfect from the tee. And his gorgeous dink over the Saracens defence for Fofana ultimately proved the difference at the end.


The form of Fofana can be puzzling. You can guarantee that he was in 75% of Six Nations fantasy rugby teams recently but the speedster hasn’t been as consistent in the last year as he has been in the previous three or four.

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His performances for France have been relatively ordinary but when he puts on his ASM jersey he looks far more assured.

And one last word on the Clermont out-half. Brock James wouldn’t be Brock James if he didn’t test the nerves of Clermont fans at least once per game.


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