Lopez on song to guide Clermont past Racing

Paris (AFP) –


France fly-half Camille Lopez hit seven penalties to help Clermont to a 26-17 victory over Racing 92 in Top 14 ction on Sunday.

Racing had led 10-6 at half-time after Hassane Kolingar had crossed for a try converted by Nolann Le Garrec, who also added a penalty, with Lopez on the mark with his opening two three-pointers.

The second half saw the unerring Lopez, capped 28 times for Les Bleus, hit another five penalties along with a try by France's Fiji-born winger Alivereti Raka.

Le Garrec crossed for his side's second try early on in the second period, but it was in vain as Clermont clamped their defence to notch up their first win over Racing at home in four years.

Lopez said his side's win had been "important" as they looked to relaunch a botched opening of the season.

"Today we needed to score some points to get us going in the championship because we were lying down at the bottom of the standings," he said.

"The first half was a bit hit and miss and we overplayed things ... but we refocused in the second-half and were able to pull off an important win."

Saturday's action saw league leaders Toulouse beat Biarritz 17-11, while Bordeaux-Begles climbed to second with a 20-15 victory at Lyon.

Brive celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of their stadium by beating last-place Stade Francais 19-12 to climb to third.

Last season's losing finalists La Rochelle continued to stumble, losing 21-11 at Montpellier, and Pau rose to fifth by winning 29-14 at Perpignan.