Yesterday saw Bath Rugby drawn into pool 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup alongside Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby and Harlequins. We have taken a closer look at French TOP 14 finalists and current Challenge Cup champions Clermont.
Clermont Auvergne qualified for the 2019-20 Heineken Champions Cup after beating fellow French side La Rochelle 36-16 at St. James’ Park in the Challenge Cup final. After reaching the TOP 14 final, the Yellow Army missed out against Toulouse in the final, losing 24-18.
Bath and Clermont Auvergne will meet for the very first time in the 2019-20 Heineken Champions Cup. The two sides have only ever met once in a European competition before, this being the 2006-07 Challenge Cup final, which Clermont claimed with a 22-16 win.
The Professional era has been kind to Clermont Auvergne and their achievements speak for themselves. They have reached the Champions Cup final on three occasions, losing all three in 2013, 2015 and 2017. In contrast, they have been crowned Challenge Cup champions on three of the four occasions they have reached the final, those being in 1999, 2007 and 2019.
Players to Watch
Raka joined the ASM Clermont academy in November 2014 and came through the ranks with Peceli Yato. Born in Fiji, but French qualified he made his debut against Oyonnax Rugby off the bench and scored a try in 2015. Since then he has a commendable try scoring record and is fascinating to watch expressing his raw power and strength on the wide channels. Aged just 24, the powerhouse has plenty to offer and is a threat to any side.
Now an established French international at the age of 22, Penaud has made 11 appearances for his country, scoring three tries with two of those coming against England and Italy in the 2019 Six Nations. The centre is a tricky opponent and has the ability to open up space for his fellow runners. He has a flare to his running and isn’t scared to break the gain line.
Yato is a Fijian international Powerful and explosive, the backrower in in only his fifth season with Clermont at the age of 26. He is now perfectly in his element and his performances have found regularity in the first team. Yato possesses an X-factor in the Clermont pack, his flashes can tip a match.