Clermont KO champs

Brock James scored all of Clermont’s points taking his club to a 19-9 victory and a step closer to the Top 14 title.

Toulouse battled to breach a well-organised defence and even a man-advantage in the second stanza did little to boost their attack. It was Clermont, spearheaded by James, that controlled the game and the former champs were chasing the score early on.

James opened the scoring with a well-struck penalty, and followed this up with a superb individual try in the 10th minute. The Antipodean scythed through midfield and then put ball to boot, a tactic that had the cover defence scrambling. The final bounce was in Clermont’s favour as James crashed over the line.

Toulouse found some respite in the form of Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, whose goal-kicking ensured the men in black trailed by only 13-9 at the break. What that scoreline didn’t reveal was the two Elissalde missed. This was unforgivable given the six points could have swung the momentum at that stage game.

James continued to knock them over and the Clermont defence refused to relent. South Africans Daan Human and Shaun Sowerby provided some strong contributions but it wasn’t enough to get Toulouse into the contest.

James missed a simple penalty attempt in the 79th minute, but by then Clermont had already won the game. The result sees the southern club advancing to next week’s final.