Steyn double floors Clermont

Montpellier moved into second place in the standings after claiming a hard-fought 28-24 victory over Clermont in Montpellier on Sunday.

In a tightly contested encounter which was played at a frenetic pace, Montpellier got the rub of the green in the end and eventually outscored Clermont four tries to three with Nemani Nadolo and Francois Steyn scoring a brace apiece.

Clermont made a terrific start when three minutes after the kick off, Patricio Fernandez glided through a gap in the home side's defence before crossing for the opening try.

Montpellier soaked up the early pressure but struck back in the 17th minute when Nadolo barged over from close quarters after Jan Serfontein was stopped just short of the whitewash in the build-up.

Shortly afterwards, Peter Betham made a telling break before offloading to Fritz Lee who cantered in for his side's second try.

Fernandez added the extras and slotted a penalty five minutes later which meant the visitors were in control with the score 17-7 in their favour. 

Montpellier responded in the 33rd minute when Steyn burst through a tackle from Nick Abendanon before crossing for his side's third try but three minutes later, they received the first of three yellow cards when Henry Immelman was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Aurelien Rougerie.

Despite their numerical advantage, Clermont did not score more points before half-time and the teams changed sides with the visitors holding a slender 17-14 lead at the interval.

Six minutes into the second half, Peter Betham intercepted an Aaron Cruden pass close to Clermont's try-line and ran the length of the field before crossing for his side's second try.

Fernandez converted which meant Clermont now held a 10-point lead but they were dealt a blow when John Ulugia was sent to the sin bin for illegally collapsing a maul deep inside Clermont's half.

Nadolo crossed for his second try soon afterwards, after running onto a pass from Benoit Paillaugue, who also converted, and with the score 24-21 to Clermont, Montpellier were back in the match.

They suffered another setback though, when Joe Tomane was yellow carded in the 54th minute for playing Isaia Toeava in the air but like Immelman;s spell on the sidelines, Montpellier scored a try during this period as well when Steyn ran onto a pass from Cruden and beat a couple of defenders before crossing for his second try.

That score gave Montpellier the lead for the first time and although they lost Nadolo for a 10-minute spell on the sidelines after a cynical foul on defence, they held on for victory.

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nadolo 2, Steyn 2
Cons: Steyn, Paillaugue 3
Yellow Cards: Immelman, Tomane, Nadolo

For Clermont:
Fernandez, Lee, Betham
Cons: Fernandez 3
Pens: Fernandez
Yellow Card: Ulugia

Montpellier: 15 Henry Immelman, 14 Joseph Tomane, 13 Francois Steyn, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Jacques Du Plessis, 7 Wian Liebenberg, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Konstantin Mikautadze, 4 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili 
Replacements: 16 Vincent Giudicelli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Martin Devergie, 20 Enzo Sanga, 21 Alexandre Dumoulin, 22 Joffrey Michel, 23 Mohammed Haouas

Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Nick Abendanon, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Atila Septar, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Patricio Fernandez, 9 Vincenzo Trussardi, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Camille Gerondeau, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Etienne Falgoux 
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Maxence Barjaud, 19 Julien Ruaud, 20 Dorian Lavernhe, 21 Maxence Lemardelet, 22 Setariki Tuicuvu, 23 Aaron Jarvis

Referee: Jerome Garces

- Team Talk Media
- Team Talk Media