Clermont Auvergne 52-26 Bath: Premiership side demolished in Heineken Champions Cup

Alivereti Raka scores a try
Wing Alivereti Raka scored two of Clermont's tries
Heineken Champions Cup Pool 3
Clermont (40) 52
Tries: Ulugia, Penaud, Raka 2, Moala 2, Lopez, McIntyre Cons: Parra 5, Laidlaw
Bath (14) 26
Tries: Walker, McConnochie, Dunn, Bayliss Cons: Burns 3

Bath's winless Heineken Champions Cup run continued as Clermont completed an eight-try demolition of the Premiership side in France.

The hosts secured a first-half bonus point with six tries before the break, though Bath's Jack Walker and Ruaridh McConnochie also crossed.

And scores from Tom Dunn and Josh Bayliss meant the visitors did at least come away with a four-try bonus point.

But Bath are bottom of Pool Three with no hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Clermont are one point shy of pool leaders Ulster on 16 points and the Irish side will have a big challenge on their hands when they travel to France on 11 January.

The result also puts an end to Harlequins' European ambitions as Clermont are now out of reach 11 points ahead of them.

Bath struggle as ruthless Clermont run riot

Bath have now lost all four of their Champions Cup games this season and victory in France immediately seemed a long way off as Clermont hooker John Ulugia broke away from a maul to drive over after just three minutes.

Then centre Damian Penaud, who was returning from injury, stepped inside Bath scrum-half Chris Cook to score before Alivereti Raka gathered Camille Lopez's cross-field kick to add Clermont's third try.

And the hosts earned a bonus point in 20 minutes as centre George Moala timed his run perfectly and scythed through defenders to score.

There was finally some good news for Bath as they drove a maul towards the try-line and hooker Walker touched down to get them off the mark.

But Isaia Toeava kicked a ball through for Raka to score his second, before Clermont covered the length of the field and Moala barrelled over again.

Bath did manage to find holes in Clermont's defence though, and England wing McConnochie ran on to a pass from Freddie Burns to score just before half-time.

After the break, Lopez took a quick penalty and scored the hosts' seventh try, but Bath hit back when replacement hooker Dunn dotted down after another maul.

The move worked again for the visitors, leading to Bayliss' bonus-point score, but the celebrations were short-lived as replacement prop Sam Nixon was sin-binned for an infringement at the breakdown.

And Clermont made the most of the extra man as Penaud opened up Bath's defence, allowing McIntyre through for their eighth and final try.

The only negative from Clermont's afternoon was an ankle injury sustained by wing Samuel Ezeala, who left the field after five minutes and returned to the sideline on crutches, while Bath wing Aled Brew repeatedly received treatment on his leg and was eventually replaced by Gabriel Hamer-Webb.

Bath now turn their attention back to the Premiership, where they are ninth in the table after two wins in five games.

Heineken Champions Cup Pool 3
PlayedWinsLossesPoints
Ulster44017
Clermont Auvergne43116
Harlequins4135
Bath4043

'We have the team to go all the way' - what they said

Clermont number 8 Fritz Lee told BT Sport: "The first half we played well, everything fell in our place. Credit to our team. It wasn't an easy game.

"When you score a lot of tries in the first 20 minutes you let go mentally and that was a challenge for us. It gives us massive confidence. We have the team to go all the way."

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper said: "It was always going to be a tough ask to come here and win. In the first half we were absolutely nowhere near where we needed to be.

"We made error upon error and gave a quick and powerful team the opportunity to get into the game. We were out there, but not competing.

"The changing room is obviously gutted. No-one in there wants to put in that sort of performance and rightly so."

Line-ups

Clermont Auvergne: Toeava; Ezeala, Penaud, Moala, Raka; Lopez, Parra (c); Beria, Ulugia, Zirakashvili, Iturria, Timani, Fischer, Lapandry, Lee.

Replacements: Beheregaray, Uhila, Slimani, Merrick, Levave, Laidlaw, McIntyre, Naqalevu.

Bath: Homer, McConnochie, Wright, Roberts, Brew; Burns, Cook; Boyce, Walker, Judge, Douglas, Stooke, Williams, Ellis (c), Bayliss.

Replacements: Dunn, Noguera, Nixon, McNally, Underhill, Fox, Priestland, Hamer-Webb.

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