CLERMONT 37 NORTHAMPTON SAINTS 5
Northampton completed a chastening day for English clubs in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup after being put to the sword by Clermont at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.
Just hours after Bath had succumbed to Leinster in Dublin, the reigning Aviva Premiership champions and runaway league leaders leaked four tries to their dazzling opponents who had amassed a 27-0 lead by half-time.
Wing Noa Nakaitaci plundered a pair of touch downs, while his France team-mate Wesley Fofana and former Bath full-back Nick Abendanon also crossed in a harrowing evening for England’s strongest club.
Fly-half Brock James completed the rout by landing all four conversions and booting three penalties.
Every bit as impressive as the spellbinding Fofana was man of the match Abendanon, who ran amok in the Massif Central with a series of graceful runs that must have caught the eye of England selectors.
It took until the 68th minute for Northampton to register their first points through a try by Alex Waller, although the aftermath of the score was mired in controversy as the substitute prop then appeared to land a blow on John Ulugia as they wrestled on the floor.