Barraque's first penalty in more than four years sends 'satisfied' Clermont fourth

Paris (AFP) –


France winger Damian Penaud said Clermont were "satisfied" after Jean-Pascal Barraque kicked his first penalty goal in more than four years to take them up to fourth in the Top 14 after Saturday's 16-16 draw at Bordeaux-Begles.

Barraque returned to the longer-form of the game this season after the World Rugby Sevens Series was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic and slotted the three-pointer with eight minutes to play.

"We found it hard but I think that the match can be an example for us. We remained intense and stayed solid for 80 minutes," try-scorer Penaud told Canal+.

"Nothing's perfect but we feel we played well. We're satisfied," he added.

The fixture was one of four league games rescheduled for the weekend after European matches were cancelled over Covid-19 fears in Britain.

Bordeaux-Begles coach Christophe Urios made four changes from last weekend's win over Lyon as Australia No 8 Scott Higginbotham started for the first time since December 19.

Japan's Kotaro Matsushima returned to Franck Azema's Clermont team after being rested for last Sunday's hammering of Pau.

At Stade Chaban-Delmas, Clermont were down to 13 men within a quarter of an hour as captain Peceli Yato and hooker Adrien Pelissie were shown yellow cards.

Maxime Lamothe crossed from a rolling maul immediately after Pelissie's sanction before France winger Penaud's converted try brought the sides level 7-7.

Fly-half Mathieu Jalibert, who was named in France's Six Nations squad alongside Penaud earlier this week, and Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra traded penalty goals as the home team led 13-10 at the break.

Clermont flanker Alexandre Fischer, named as one of France's five training partners for the Six Nations, left the field with a neck injury on the hour mark after a further shot apiece from Parra and Jalibert.

Then, from 50 metres, Barraque kicked his effort, a first in the league since April 2016, with eight minutes remaining to take the two points for his side, who remain without a win in the western city since 2017.

Later, Bayonne host Pau as Australia full-back Jesse Mogg is set to make his first appearance since April 2019 after recovering from a shin injury.

On Sunday, 13th placed Montpellier welcome Castres eyeing their first win in six games.

According to specialist newspaper Midi Olympique, the billionaire-backed strugglers have approached former Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika to take over next season.

Elsewhere, Toulon travel to Racing 92 and could have South Africa's Rugby World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth return from concussion after being sidelined since mid-December.