Barraque's long-awaited penalty sends Clermont fourth

Paris (AFP) –


France centre Jean-Pascal Barraque kicked his first penalty goal in more than four years to take Clermont 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.

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

Bordeaux 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 the Franck Azema's Clemront team after being rested for last Sunday's hammering of Pau.

At Stade Chaban-Delmas Azema saw his side 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 Damian 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 upcoming Six Nations, left the field with a neck issue on the hour mark after a further shot apiece from Parra and Jalibert.

Barraque then 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 at Stade Chaban-Delmas 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.