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European Champions Cup: Bristol 38-51 Clermont

Clermont’s Eastern paunchy-abet Kotaro Matsushima scored a hat-trick
Bristol (14) 38
Tries: Malins, Byrne, Randall, Lloyd, Piutau Cons: Sheedy 3, Malins 2 Pen: Sheedy
Clermont (29) 51
Tries: Matsushima 3, Naqalevu, Penaud 2, Lee Cons: Lopez 5 Pens: Lopez 2

Bristol were outshone by Clermont of their first Champions Cup game since 2008, as the French facet positioned on an exhilarating seven-are attempting attacking point out.

The Bears – Venture Cup winners in October – struggled in the step as much as Europe’s premier rivals as Clermont’s Eastern paunchy-abet Kotaro Matsushima claimed a hat-trick.

Wales abet Ioan Lloyd’s accept earned Bristol a four-are attempting bonus level.

But a valuable determine-studded Clermont backline become too mighty for the Bears to house.

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Clermont illuminate empty Ashton Gate

Each side seen a 2d of silence earlier than kick-off to pay tribute to 16-year-old style Luke Wheaton, a worn member of Bristol’s junior academy who died in final week’s explosion at a break water remedy works advance the metropolis.

Once play began, in a much allege from the slower, defensive form of the Autumn Countries Cup, three-time Champions Cup finalists Clermont confirmed off their attacking flair.

A mettlesome one-handed offload from France world Alivereti Raka sent Matsushima over in the third minute, earlier than centre Apisai Naqalevu intercepted Wales cruise-half of Callum Sheedy’s pass to realize.

The company’ abet three combined with devastating attain again as Damian Penaud went over in the nook.

Bristol finally discovered a diagram into the game, capitalising on a 5m scrum as quantity eight Nathan Hughes sent the ball staunch and newly capped England world Max Malins danced his diagram thru defenders to realize.

But with Bristol cruise-half of Sheedy down injured, Naqalevu threw a basketball pass over the pinnacle of scrum-half of Harry Randall for Matsushima to realize the bonus-level are attempting.

Sheedy become soon abet on his ft and Bristol managed to diminish the deficit earlier than half of-time as hooker Bryan Byrne scored in a maul.

The Bears looked as if it would be mounting a comeback as Henry Purdy barrelled down the left flee and, as he become heading into contact, sent a top likely offload for Randall to realize.

But Clermont soon extinguished the Bears’ spark with a 2d are attempting for Penaud earlier than quantity eight Fritz Lee added his determine to the scoresheet.

Rugby league convert Ratu Naulago got here on for his first Bristol appearance and soundless Clermont did no longer let up as Matsushima finished his hat-trick.

The hosts a minimal of ended with a flourish as Malins’ rapid penalty noticed Lloyd stride over in the nook, earlier than Charles Piutau gathered the paunchy-abet’s kick to realize beneath the posts.

Bristol face Connacht in Galway subsequent Sunday, while Clermont play Irish facet Munster at house on Saturday.

There are two pools of 12 groups in the advanced contemporary-behold tournament layout. Every workforce performs two assorted sides from their pool in house and away fixtures.

After that, the discontinuance four groups from every pool will stride on to contest the quarter-finals and the perimeters positioned fifth to eighth in every pool will tumble into the European Venture Cup.

Line-ups

Bristol: Malins; Leiua, O’Conor, Piutau (capt), Purdy; Sheedy, Randall; Woolmore, Byrne, Afoa, Holmes, Joyce, Earl, Thomas, Hughes.

Replacements: Capon, Thomas, Sinckler, Attwood, Heenan, Uren, Lloyd, Naulago.

Clermont: Matsushima; Penaud, Naqalevu, Moala, Raka; Lopez (capt), Parra; Falgoux, Pelissie, Slimani, Timani, Jedrasiak, Cancoriet, Vahaamahina, Lee.

Replacements: Fourcade, Ravai, Falatea, Lanen, Veredamu, Bezy, Tiberghien, Vili.

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