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C'mont Auvergne 25-10 Saracens

Clermont Auvergne (12) 25
Tries: Cudmore, Malzieu, Nalaga Cons: Parra 2 Pens: Parra 2
Saracens (3) 10
Tries: Strettle Cons: Hougaard Pens: Hougaard

Napolioni Nalaga tackles David Strettle
Sarries' only try scorer Strettle is tackled by Nalaga

Saracens opened their Heineken Cup campaign with a spirited but error-riddled defeat in France.

Derick Hougaard kicked their only points of the first half as intercepted tries from Jamie Cudmore and Julien Malzieu put the French side 12-3 up.

David Strettle crossed for Saracens on the restart and Hougaard converted.

But as the visitors pushed in vain for a bonus point, Clermont's Napolioni Nalaga crashed over to send Brendan Venter's side home empty-handed.

South African Hougaard and Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra were both guilty of missing kickable penalties in the opening exchanges.

In the 10th minute, Canadian Cudmore gratefully accepted a wayward Hougaard pass and crossed to break the deadlock as Parra added the extras.


Hougaard reduced the arrears from the tee when Cudmore saw yellow. However, the French side belied their numerical disadvantage when Malzieu ran in at the corner.

Former England man Strettle belatedly committed to a tackle on Marius Joubert, who released neatly to send winger Malzieu on his way.

French international Parra could not convert and Hougaard again missed a chance to close the gap after Davit Zirakashvili had been sin-binned.

The Watford-based team, though, were right back in it four minutes into the second period when Strettle made amends for his earlier misjudgement - crossing on the overlap following a sweeping passing movement out wide.

Hougaard brought his paltry tally to five with the conversion, but despite regularly putting Clermont on the backfoot, Saracens failed to make any more inroads thanks to a succession of misplaced passes and nervy handling.

Parra made them pay by landing two more penalties and the Londoners saw yet another scoring opportunity wasted when a flat-footed Strettle, with space to run into, was halted by a crunching Nalaga hit after Malzieu had spilled an up-and-under.

Hougaard fired wide once more in the 75th minute, and, as his team bravely tried to run the ball from deep in the closing stages, Fijian Nalaga pounced on a loose ball to give Clermont's final score a slightly flattering complexion.

Clermont Auvergne: Floch, Nalaga, Rougerie, Joubert, Malzieu, James, Parra, Domingo, Paulo, Zirakashvili, Cudmore, Privat, Bonnaire, Lapandry, Lauaki.

Replacements: Williams for Joubert (66), Ledesma for Paulo (51), Scelzo for Zirakashvili (73), White for Privat (58), Vermeulen for Lauaki (63). Not Used: Faure, Senio, Lavea.

Sin Bin: Cudmore (20).

Saracens: Goode, Strettle, Powell, Barritt, Wyles, Hougaard, Wigglesworth, Carstens, Brits, Nieto, Borthwick, Vyvyan, Burger, Saull, K. Brown.

Replacements: Ratuvou for Powell (61), de Kock for Wigglesworth (50), Botha for Vyvyan (51), Joubert for Saull (51). Not Used: George, Parr, Du Plessis, Cato.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)

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see also
Saracens 26-20 Leicester
03 Oct 10 |  English
Rugby union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2010/11
29 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union

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