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Japanese full-back Kotaro Matsushima scored his record-breaking 10th try of the season as Clermont beat Brive 37-27 at home to move within four points of the semi-finals of the French Top 14 on Saturday.
The hosts, who last won the title in 2017, climbed to third place ahead of Racing 92, who lost 35-22 to Stade Français in the Paris derby earlier today, while three matches postponed were played on the weekend of the European Champions Cup. semi-finals.
Clermont coach Franck Azema, who will be replaced by former New Zealand striker Jono Gibbes next season, made just one change from last weekend’s loss to Lyon as the n ° 8 Jaco Van Tonder was making his first appearance since February due to a shoulder problem.
Matsushima’s effort came after eight minutes as he finished in the corner of Morgan Parra’s loop pass as he beat his previous best of nine tries scored in a season in 2017-18 for the Sunwolves and Suntory. Sungoliath.
Clermont led 20-6 at the interval after French lock Arthur Iturria opened his trial account for the season and Brive half-fly Thomas Laranjeira responded with two penalties.
Hooker Etienne Fourcade and winger Alivereti Raka added efforts in the second half as Azema’s men withstood an away bout that included tries from Kitione Kamikamica, Joris Jurand and Setariki Tuicuvu.
Clermont is just a victory behind La Rochelle, second, who will host Leinster in the Champions Cup on Sunday for a place in the final on May 22 against Toulouse.
– The Parisian derby spoils –
Previously, an exceptional display of goalkicking from 24-year-old Joris Segonds helped Stade Français beat Racing.
Racing scored four tries against the two from Stade, but the indiscipline of the home team allowed Segonds to tackle seven penalties as well as two conversions for a decisive personal tally of 25 points.
He scored a fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions for Racing, which is eight points behind La Rochelle, and risks slipping in its attempt to finish in the top six and qualify for the play-offs.
French center Gael Fickou was due to make his final appearance for Stade Français in that original match before his move across town to join Racing.
A gentleman’s agreement saw him sit at this match, watching from the stands.
Elsewhere, Argentine rear rower Facundo Isa also scored his first try of the season in Toulon’s 32-17 victory over already relegated Agen.
© 2021 AFP