Clermont Auvergne made it through to the final of the Top 14 last weekend after an impressive 37-31 victory over defending champions Racing 92 in Marseille.
They scored four tries – including two from Camille Lopez – to Racing’s three during the match, but what was perhaps more impressive, was that Clermont spent the majority of the second half a man down after second-row Flip van der Merwe was sent off.
The Springbok saw red after a reckless high tackle on Racing wing Teddy Thomas. Van der Merwe swung his arm, catching Thomas at chin level, making it a clear sending off offence.
Referee Mathieu Raynal had no other choice but to brandish the red card at a time when Clermont led 19-6.
The sizeable lead Clermont had when van der Merwe was dismissed probably helped Olivier Azam’s side not only hang on to but extend their advantage. Lopez’s second and a final try from Fritz Lee, as well as a further eight points from the boot of Morgan Parra, sealed the win.
Van Der Merwe is suspended pending a disciplinary hearing, which will take place on 7 June, when he will join Pierre Aguillon in front of the LNR (La Ligue Nationale de Rugby).
credit: boucherie ovalie