Clermont, Montpellier and Leicester come out on top in Heineken Cup

Updated: December 10, 2012

In a tight encounter European Champions Leinster had their 17 game unbeaten run in the Heineken Cup broken as Clermont defeated them 15-12. There were also wins for Montpellier in a high scoring affair against Cardiff and Leicester in a controlled performance over Treviso.

Despite a first defeat in this season’s competition, Leinster emerged with a clutch of positives ahead of next Saturday’s return date in Dublin. Sean O’Brien had an impressive return to European action in a superb back row performance, with Fergus McFadden and cup debutant Andrew Goodman the pick of the visitors’ backs.

The result leaves Clermont with a five-point buffer at the top of the table. The sides will regroup for a vital second meeting at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday afternoon.

Fourteen-man Cardiff had their Heineken Cup aspirations ended as they fell to a 35-24 Pool Six defeat to Montpellier.  Victory kept Montpellier, coached by former France captain Fabien Galthie, in with a chance of reaching the knockout stage, though, they trail Top 14 rivals Toulon by five points with three games remaining.

Leicester collected the bonus-point victory they required at Welford Road to stay in contention for a Heineken Cup quarter-final place. Tigers closed the gap on unbeaten Pool Two leaders Toulouse after Julian Salvi’s try double underpinned a 33-25 victory over Treviso.