Clermont looking to take control at Bordeaux

 07 Jan 2016 - 8:30

Clermont looking to take control at Bordeaux
 

Paris: Last season's beaten finalists Clermont can take control of their own destiny when they travel to Bordeaux-Begles on Friday in a European Champions Cup match rearranged due to November's Paris terror attacks.

Clermont trail Ospreys by two points after sharing the honours in their back-to-back Pool 2 clashes against Exeter Chiefs.

And a victory at fellow Top 14 outfit Bordeaux would see them leap above the Welsh region into top spot, a crucial advantage with a trip to Swansea to come a week later.

Bordeaux, however, are not out of the running yet, having saved their qualification hopes with a battling 33-27 victory over Ospreys last time out, and they could even go second in the group with victory.

They would have been far more confident going into the match at their Stade Chaban-Delmas home ground before last weekend's domestic fixtures, though.

Bordeaux were on a three match winning run in the league while Clermont had lost three Top 14 clashes on the trot, including successive home games, to fall from the top spot they had occupied since the start of the season.

But the Jaunards responded with a hard-fought 33-16 success at Agen while Bordeaux fell to a 23-18 defeat at Racing 92 on Saturday.

All the French sides are playing this weekend as the first and second round of matches due to be played in France were called off as a security reaction while the country mourned the 140 people who died in the co-ordinated attacks in Paris that also targeted the Stade de France while an international football match was being played.

Must win match 

Champions Toulon don't play until Sunday when they host Bath in a game both sides must win or almost certainly see their knock-out hopes end.

Both have two wins and a defeat from three games but trail Pool 5 leaders Wasps by six points.

As neither side have picked up any bonus points yet, defeat would make winning the group virtually impossible while also rendering the chances of taking one of the two qualifying second place finishes negligible.

French champions Stade Francais face a crucial home clash with twice former European champions Munster in Pool 4.

Munster must win or they will certainly be eliminated while a victory for Stade, who earned a morale-boosting 18-17 league success at home to Toulouse on Sunday, would boost their hopes of topping the group in which Leicester lead by eight points after four wins from four.

"Wins breed confidence and sometimes it's a habit you get into," said Munster head coach Anthony Foley, whose side earned a gruelling win over Ulster last weekend.

Racing could virtually tie up Pool 3 if they beat Glasgow at home on Saturday as they already lead by two points from Northampton having played a game less.

Glasgow, who kept their knock-out hopes alive with back-to-back wins over Scarlets, could go top if they earn a victory in Paris.

"Both Racing and Northampton away will be incredibly tough fixtures, and then we hope to still be in with a shout when we host Racing 92," said Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend.

The last match on Sunday sees Ulster, the first Irish province to win the competition in 1999, travel to already-eliminated Oyonnax.

While Saracens already seem to have Pool 1 sewn up with a 10-point lead over Ulster, the Irish side would boost their hopes of snatching one of the two second place qualifying finishes if they win.

AFP