Clermont battle back for bonus-point win at Bath

Paris (AFP) –


Clermont claimed a bonus-point 34-17 win at Bath on Friday to move top of Pool 3 in the European Champions Cup.

Victory gave the French side top spot although 1999 champions Ulster, who already have two wins from two, can regain pole position when they host Harlequins on Saturday.

Welsh star Rhys Priestland gave Bath the lead but New Zealand centre George Moala powered over to draw Clermont level as the teams went in 7-7 at the interval.

Scottish international Greg Laidlaw kicked two second-half penalties for the French visitors before teenage winger Samuel Ezeala crossed for a brace on his tournament debut.

Flanker Alexandre Lapandry added the bonus-point try.

Wing Jonathan Joseph scored a late consolation try for Bath who stay bottom with three defeats in three games.

"It's a really, really tough competition. We just haven't been able to get the wins to get out of the pool," admitted Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper.

"But now we've got a group of young men who are absolutely giving their all for the jersey every time they take the field, as we saw tonight. There's nobody easing off. That's the base level of what you need."

The match was a successful return to the Recreation Ground for Clermont full-back Nick Abendanon who left Bath in 2014 after nine seasons.

"We needed that win. Those tries were a result of our defensive effort," he said after his 50th game in the top-tier European tournament.