By Louis Mouret
Largely beaten in Toulouse, ASM beat the Racingmen this Saturday evening (23-18).
This Saturday evening, Clermont beat Racing 92 (23-18) for the 9th day of Top 14. A good performance after the heavy setback in Toulouse last weekend (31-10). In the coldness of Auvergne, the Argentinians of the ASM had to bring back their touch of madness to warm up Marcel Michelin and the Clermont public. After two consecutive defeats including one at home against the RCT (27-30), Christophe Urios’ men wanted to redeem themselves this Saturday evening against the leader of the Top 14. And from the first moments, it was Racing 92 and its team reworked which paid the price.
Faced with a rigorous defense from Clermontois, the Ile-de-France residents quickly found themselves without solutions. For its part, ASM took the time to put down its game led by Urdapilleta and its kicking game. It was also following a candle from the Argentinian opener poorly negotiated by Tristan Tedder and a devastating charge from Marcos Kremer that Georges Moala scored, powerfully, the first try of the match (10′).
Argentinians in great shape
Already rewarded for their good start with this try, the Clermontois will be opportunistic on the second try. Taking advantage of a mix-up in the center of the field, Urdapilleta kicked Delguy’s wing. The 26-year-old winger, like the good Argentinian that he is, extends with his foot and takes advantage of a favorable rebound to flatten the Auvergnats’ second try (16′).
Manhandled in the duels, Racing relied on Vinaya Habosi to find progress. The Fijian used his power and speed to create instability in the Clermont defense. Danger but no tests for the Racingmen who were content with the little they had to finish the first 40 minutes with a gap of 11 points to make up (2 penalties from Tedder).
A wake-up call too late for Racing
Reduced to 14 after Tristan Tedder’s yellow card (39′), Racing 92 was not in the best conditions to come back. Solid during the 10 minutes in numerical inferiority, Stuart Lancaster’s men only conceded 3 points to limit the gap to 14 points. But offensively too light, Racing was not able to worry ASM to pick up the score. Shortly before the hour mark, however, Nicolas Bézy had to turn into a savior to extinguish one of the rare sparks of Racing. Close to the line, Racing moved away on the right wing with a 2 against 2 to play. But intelligently, the ASM number 9 used his vista to anticipate and intercept Klemenczak’s transmission (56′).
But despite several wasted ammunition, Racing did not give up and started to believe again thanks to Kamikamica’s try (71′) on a first-hand action and a nice combination between Fijians with Tabuavou. In turn reduced to 14 (Biziwu 73′), ASM therefore had to turn its back at the end of the match. Relieved by a penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta (76′), the Auvergnats were scared until the end after Taoffifenua’s try (78′) on an inspiration at the foot of Nolann Le Garrec. And despite a final thrill on Habosi’s recovery (80′) after a stolen ball in touch, the Clermontois came out ahead against Racing and returned to victory after two consecutive defeats. ASM remains in contact with the Top 6 so Racing regains first place in the Top 14 thanks to the defensive bonus point won at the very end of the match.