Clermont Auvergne 35 – 14 Worcester Warriors
WORCESTER’s first pre-season game ended in defeat as European giants Clermont Auvergne put them to the sword in Issoire on Friday.
Head coach Carl Hogg picked a 29-man squad to face the French club, who finished at the summit of last season’s Top 14, but found themselves on the back foot when Noa Nakaitaci found space out wide to touch down for a try.
Skipper Morgan Parra added the extras as the hosts found themselves 7-0 up within the first eight minutes.
Clermont heaped on the pressure, but some valiant defending by Warriors kept the French giants at bay as they tried to batter their way over for a second try.
The visitors then fought their way back level when Cooper Vuna crossed the whitewash, and Ryan Lamb kicked the conversion.
Lamb then sent a crossfield kick to Dean Hammond who found Vuna, but the winger’s attempted chip-and-chase over the tryline fell just short, leaving the sides level at the interval.
Entering the second-half, Clermont started strongly and it wasn’t long until France international Nakaitaci found a gap to score his second try of the match, which Camille Lopez converted.
Clermont showed no signs of easing the pressure as Judicaël Cancoriet smashed his way over to score and Lopez once again slotted the conversion between the posts.
In the final ten minutes, an impressive sprint from Damian Penaud down the left flank saw the paceman storm his way across the tryline, which Lopez successfully converted, before Cancoriet put the contest out of sight with his second try.
But Warriors had the last say of the match when Ben Howard scored an 80th minute try, which Tom Heathcote converted.
Warriors continue their pre-season schedule with a trip to Greene King IPA Championship outfit Jersey on Saturday (2.30pm).