Perpignan crowned French champs

Perpignan produced a clinical performance to beat Clermont 22-13 in the French Top 14 final at Stade de France.

Clermont’s diabolical record in this fixture continued. Amazingly it’s their 10th defeat in 10 final appearances.

Perpignan, who fielded two South Africans in Gerrie Britz and Phillip Burger, thoroughly deserved the victory, which secured their first championship since 1955. They held on in the final quarter, but they were good enough over the preceding 60 minutes to earn the win.

Clermont came flying out of the blocks as wing Napolioni Nalaga scored in the 10th minute. Flyhalf Brock James added the extras, then slotted a penalty to give his side a comfortable lead.

Perpignan hit back through a Gavin Hume drop-goal, and a penalty from Jerome Porical, to finish the half trailing 10-6.

Perpignan shook themselves out of their slumber in the second half, scoring through centre David Marty. Porical converted then kicked a penalty to take his side to a 16-10 lead. James replied with three points, but Clermont’s ill-discipline cost them, Porical sinking two more penalties.

Those points gave Perpignan a comfortable buffer, and they held on bravely in the latter stages of the match, and celebrated wildly at the final whistle.