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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 21:11 GMT
Cler Auvergne 27-40 Leicester
Tom Varndell
Clermont Auvergne (13) 27
Tries: Floch, Audebert, Paulse
Cons: Jones (3)
Pens: Jones (2)
Leicester (22) 40
Tries: Varndell (4), Hipkiss
Cons: Goode (2), Broadfoot
Pens: Goode (2)
DG: Goode
Four tries from England wing Tom Varndell eased Leicester's passage into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after a 40-27 win over Clermont-Auvergne.

Varndell made the most of some poor French defence for his opening two tries in the first half and added another two after the interval.

Dan Hipkiss touched down for the Tigers' other try, while Andy Goode kicked 13 points.

It was only Clermont's second home defeat in 21 European ties.

But the home side dominated the opening 20 minutes, Stephen Jones kicking two penalties as Leicester struggled to settle.

Then from nowhere Clermont's defence completely capitulated.

Varndell's first effort came after a blistering break from Geordan Murphy and in the wake of missed tackles by Jones, Pierre Mignoni and Breyton Paulse.

The Tigers flyer then added a second after the dimunitive Harry Ellis showed surprising strength to hold off his tackler and allow Varndell to once again touch down in the left-hand corner.

Hipkiss broke through in the final minute of the half for a further five points, but the game was far from over when Anthony Floch scored for the home side in injury time.

Varndell, though, guaranteed the bonus point, his hat-trick and effectively the win in the 45th minute again after some fine work with Murphy.

Varndell should have been celebrating his fourth even earlier only for Ellis' selfishness to scupper that opportunity. But with 10 minutes left he once again broke clear unchallenged for the previously elusive fourth.

It caused Leicester to briefly fall asleep, allowing scores from Alexandre Audebert and Breyton Paulse, which flattered Clermont rather than rattled the Tigers.

Leicester wing Tom Varndell:
"It's massive for the club. We came here to win, get the bonus point and qualify.

"We've done that and we're now looking forward to the next round.

"Winning in France is obviously very difficult but we believed in ourselves and we pulled it off."

Clermont Auvergne: Floch; Paulse, Canale, Marsh, Malzieu; Jones, Mignoni; Emmanuelli, M Ledesma, Scelzo; Cudmore, Privat; Broomhall, Dieude, Vermeulen.
Replacements: Shvelidze for Emmanuelli (54), Miguel for M Ledesma (60), Zirakashvili for Scelzo (49), Barrier for Cudmore (40), Audebert for Privat (61).
Not used: McMullen, Chanal.

Sin bin: Miguel (62).

Leicester: Vesty; Varndell, Smith, Hipkiss, Murphy; Goode, Ellis; Rowntree, Chuter, White; L Deacon, Kay; B Deacon, Abraham, Corry.
Replacements: A Tuilagi for Smith (20), Broadfoot for Goode (70), Healey for Ellis (70), Morris for Rowntree (66), Buckland for Chuter (70), Cullen for Kay (50), Johnson for Corry (56).

Att: 10,000

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

Heineken Cup
15 Jan 06 |  European Club
Leicester 29-22 Stade Francais
15 Jan 06 |  European Club
Ospreys 26-12 Clermont
14 Jan 06 |  European Club


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