At long last - Clermont Auvergne end Top 14 drought
At the eleventh time of asking Clermont Auvergne finally got their hands on the mythical Bouclier de Brennus trophy.
In a repeat of last year’s Top 14 final the perennial losers finally managed to reverse the trend and overcame a flat Perpignan side, who never really looked like retaining their title.
In a cagey opening both Morgan Parra and JerÃƒÂ´me Porical missed penalties -a sign of things to come for the Catalan full back. Clermont opened the scoring with a penalty from Parra after 15 minutes and followed up with the only try of the match just after.
Clermont Captain Aurelien Rougerie made an initial break before passing to Anthony Floch. Brock James continued the move and eventually Napolioni Nalaga barreled over from close range. Just as 12 months earlier, the Fijian winger had scored the first try of the final to put his side in command.
However unlike a year ago, there was to be no comeback from the reigning champions. Porical scored Perpignan’s only points of the encounter with two penalties as the Catalans tried to claw their way back into the match, but Parra added a penalty of his own to give Clermont a 13-6 half time lead.
Porical missed kickable penalties either side of the break and when he missed again on the hour mark, Clermont knew it was going to be their night. Parra kicked three more points, and Floch added a long-range drop goal to seal a 19-6 victory.
The Jaunards, appearing in a fourth consecutive final, were understandably ecstatic upon hearing the final whistle, and every neutral spectator will have raised a smile at seeing Rougerie finally lead his team to glory after so many heartbreaking losses.
With domestic success finally achieved, they will turn towards the Heineken Cup next season.