Matt Scott runs with the ball
Matt Scott scored two of Leicester’s tries
Clermont Auvergne: (14) 29
Tries: Delguy, Fourcade, Belleau, Jedrasiak; Pen: Belleau; Cons: Belleau 3
Leicester Tigers: (27) 44
Tries: Scott 2, Simmons, Kelly, Cronin; Pens: Pollard 2, Gopperth; Cons: Pollard 4, Gopperth

Leicester qualified for the Heineken Champions Cup last 16 with a game to spare as they returned to winning ways with a bonus-point victory at Clermont.

Richard Wigglesworth’s side suffered heavy losses in their last two league outings but looked to have adapted to life without Steve Borthwick in France.

Tigers’ Matt Scott, Harry Simmons and Dan Kelly all scored in the first half.

Two more tries after the break put Leicester at the top of Pool B before the other 10 teams play this weekend.

Following Borthwick’s appointment as England head coach, Wigglesworth was taking charge of his first European game having served as a replacement scrum-half in Leicester’s previous two wins in the competition.

After a couple of rocky weeks in the Premiership, Tigers made themselves comfortable early in France with Scott’s interception score, but Clermont hit back through Bautista Delguy after Handre Pollard’s penalty.

Sensational feet from scrum-half-turned-wing Simmons gave Leicester a second before Clermont number eight Fritz Lee was shown a yellow card for a dangerous clear-out in the ruck, in which he clashed heads with Ben Youngs.

The Tigers continued to look slick as Kelly ran over off a line-out drive, but Alivereti Raka showed how dangerous he can be as his break led to a try for Etienne Fourcade immediately after.

South Africa fly-half Pollard was potent from the tee on his first European start for Leicester, adding a long-range penalty to bring his first-half tally to 12.

It was Clermont who looked brighter after the break as Anthony Belleau scrambled on to a loose ball to score after Charlie Atkinson’s last-ditch defence failed.

Scott scored his second for Leicester straight after as the Tigers backline combined beautifully, before Clermont’s Paul Jedrasiak threw a sly dummy to get past Atkinson and cut the lead to eight points.

Leicester held off an increasingly confident Clermont and prop James Cronin sealed the Tigers’ win with a try in the 78th minute.

The French side move up to fourth in the table thanks to a four-try bonus point, but are likely to drop down again after the weekend’s games.

Leicester’s final group game will be against Ospreys on 20 January, while Clermont face DHL Stormers the following day.

Line-ups

Clermont: Newsome; Delguy, Tiberghien, Simone, Raka; Belleau, Jauneau; Bibi Biziwu, Pelissie, Slimani, Jedrasiak, Amatosero, Cancoriet, Fischer, Lee.

Replacements: Fourcade, Beria, Kubriashvili, Annandale, Tixeront, Bezy, Plisson, Moala.

Leicester: Atkinson; Steward, Scott, Kelly, Simmons; Pollard, Youngs (capt); Whitcombe, Clare, Heyes, Wells, Henderson, Chessum, Reffell, Jansen.

Replacements: Taufete’s, Cronin, Hurd, Cracknell, Ilione, Van Poortvliet, Gopperth, Potter.

Match officials

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

Assistant referees: Andrew Cole and Paul Haycock (Both Ireland)

TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)



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