Tigers pay for losing Tuilagi and Chuter to the bin

Clermont Auvergne 30 Leicester Tigers 12

Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin

Alain Rolland has never been afraid to make the big calls on the rugby field, and when the Irish referee sent two Leicester players to the sin-bin at the same time in the second half, it signaled the end of the visitors' hopes of picking up any points at all in this vital pool four showdown.

The man who sent off Wales captain and flanker Sam Warburton for a dangerous tackle after only 19 minutes of the World Cup semi-final, this time dispatched Tigers hooker George Chuter and England centre Manu Tuilagi for two separate incidents in the same sequence of play after 49 minutes. The first card, on the recommendation of his touch judge, went to Chuter for his high and late challenge on Morgan Parra; the second went to Tuilagi for a clumsy, head-high tackle on prop Vincent Debatty.

The packed crowd of 18,000 were baying for blood when both Parra and Debatty were floored and they roared their approval when the yellow cards were flashed. Their pleasure was then doubled when less than three minutes later the man of the match, Wesley Fofana, stretched out to score the first of his two tries to increase the lead to an impressive 23-5.

There was only ever going to be one result after that try, and Fofana's second score increased the home advantage to 25 points after 66 minutes. A bonus point looked highly likely at that stage but, to Leicester's huge credit, they used their scrum dominance to conjure up a penalty try seconds after Julien Bonnaire had become the third player to be sent to the sin-bin, and they held their line bravely for those final 14 minutes.

It means there is still all to play for in the return leg in Leicester this weekend. Clermont have moved to the top of the pool on 10 points, Ulster, who picked up a try bonus in their big home win over Aironi, and will be chasing another five in Italy in round four, are second on nine, while the Tigers are one behind on eight.

"We are still in there and we denied them a bonus point. So there is still plenty to play for at Welford Road," said Richard Cockerill, the Leicester director of rugby. "The best side won on the day. The yellow cards didn't help of course, but we will lick our wounds and we will get up for the return game next week.

"The atmosphere in Clermont is pretty volatile, and everyone lies down as if they have been shot, but Alain is a good referee and he dealt with it as he saw fit," Cockerill added.

While there was plenty for Cockerill to be pleased about in his side's performance – the scrum and line-out in particular proved very effective – the dropped high ball by their powerhouse wing, Alesana Tuilagi, in his 22, three minutes before the break, was almost as bad a moment as the double sin-binning. Julien Malzieu profited with the home side's first try and a 9-5 lead turned into an 11-point gap at a crucial stage.

The Tigers will know all too well that a win next week at Welford Road is imperative, or their European adventure will be more or less over for another year.

Scorers : Clermont - Tries: Malzieu, Fofana (2); Conversions:: Parra (3); Penalties: Parra (3) .Leicester - Tries: Youngs, penalty try; Conversion: Flood.

Clermont Auvergne:: L Byrne; S Sivivatu, A Rougerie (capt, R King, 78), W Fofana, J Malzieu; B James (D Skrela, 75), M Parra; V Debaty (D Kotze, 69), B Kayser (T Paulo 48), D Zirakashvili (C Ric, 37), J Pierre (J Cudmore 72), N Hines (E Vermeulen, 76), G Vosloo, A Lapandry, J Bonnaire.

Leicester Tigers: G Murphy (capt); H Agulla (S Hamilton, 72), M Smith (B Twelvetrees, 72), M Tuilagi, A Tuilagi; T Flood, B Youngs; M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 52), G Chuter (R Hawkins, 60), M Castrogiovanni (D Cole, 61), L Deacon (E Slater, 75), G Skivington, T Croft, J Salvi, S Mafi (Hawkins, 56-60, T Waldrom 60) .

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral