Clermont triumphant despite Zebo’s first try for Racing

Stade Francais register second victory while Toulon bottom of the table after second loss

Simon Zebo: scored his first competitive try for Racing but they still slumped to heavy home defeat to Clermont. Photograph:  Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images

Simon Zebo: scored his first competitive try for Racing but they still slumped to heavy home defeat to Clermont. Photograph: Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images

 

Simon Zebo scored his first competitive try for Racing 92 but it did little to prevent a disastrous 40-17 home loss to Clermont Auvergne yesterday.

Racing, with Zebo at full-back and Donnacha Ryan in the second row, were expected to build on their opening round win away to Toulon when they hosted Clermont at the U Arena in Paris.

But Clermont, who opened with a 67-23 win over Agen, had other ideas and were well on their way to victory when they led 19-3 at the break.

Any hope of a Racing comeback disappeared when Bernard le Roux and then Cedate Gomes Sa were sinbinned on a forgettable day for the 2016 title-holders against the team who succeeded them as champions.

Clermont are now leading the Top 14 after two rounds on points from Paul O’Connell’s Stade Francais.

Stade Francais backed up their away win in Perpignan with a 20-8 victory over Bordeaux-Begles in Paris and will now travel to take on Clermont in a top of the table clash next Saturday night.

Reigning champions Castres are the only other side to win both opening games, edging out Lyon 19-16.

Paddy Jackson scored 13 points as Perpignan secured a bonus point in their 25-23 basement clash away to the other relegation favourites Agen and they will hope for their first win when they entertain Lyon next Saturday.

But perhaps the biggest talking point in France after two rounds has been the dismal form of Toulon, the first team to win the European Champions Cup three years running from 2013-15.

They were turned over at home on the opening day by Racing 92 and on Saturday former Munster flanker Sean Dougall scored Pau’s only try as they won 20-10 to leave Toulon bottom of the table with zero points.

Two other former Munster players, lock Dave Foley and No 8 Paddy Butler, also played a big role as Simon Mannix’ side notched their first win.

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