A brace from Fijian winger Naipolioni Nalaga guided Clermont to a 40-11 victory over Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday.
The visitors conceded an impressive five yellow cards – including four within 16 minutes in the second half – as their best efforts were compounded by a lack of numbers on the field.
Clermont showed no mercy but were caught out early on by a try from fly-half Romain Lonca, taking on an offload from Jefferson Poirot after Clermont were caught napping defensively.
That try put the visitors into an 8-6 lead before lock Cameron Treloar was sent t the sin-bin for a high tackle on Morgan Parra after a tapped penalty.
Brock James and Emmanuel Saubusse traded penalties before Ti’i Paulo’s try before half-time gave Clermont breathing space, the hooker charging down Saubusse’s kick and pouncing on the ball to score.
Nalaga’s first try after the break had the hosts up 22-11 before a flurry of yellow cards were handed out by referee Laurent Cardona.
Parra and Gautier Gibouin were both sent to the bin following a scrap, Nalaga grabbing his second try in the corner in the interim, before Bordeaux lost Julien Rey for a deliberate knock-on and then Silviu Florea for multiple offences at the scrum.
When Felix Le Bourhis was sin-binned for unsportsmanlike conduct, Bordeaux-Begles were down to 12 men.
Clermont capitalised by running in two final tries from Sitiveni Sivivatu and Lee Byrne scoring two tries in two minutes to rack up the win.
Tries: Paulo, Nalaga 2, Sivivatu, Byrne
Cons: James 3
Pens: James 3
Yellow Cards: Byrne, Parra
Pens: Saubusse 2Yellow Cards: Treloar, Gibouin, Rey, Florea, Le Bourhis
Clermont:15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Benson StanleyRegan King, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Julien Bonnaire, 7 Alexandre LapandryGerhard Vosloo, 6 Julien Bardy, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Ti’i Paulo, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Cabello, 17 Daniel Kotze, 18 Loic Jacquet, 19 Gerhard Vosloo, 20 Thierry Lacrampe, 21 Regan King, 22 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 23 Vincent Debaty.
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Darly Domvo, 14 Rafael Carballo, 13 Felix Le Bourhis, 12 Jean-Baptiste Lamotte, 11 Robert Lilomaiva, 10 Romain Lonca, 9 Emmanuel Saubusse, 8 Matthew Clarkin, 7 Gautier Gibouin, 6 Poutasi Luafutu, 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Cameron Treloar, 3 Benjamin Sa, 2 Wayne Avei, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Fidinde, 17 Silviu Florea, 18 Aliki Fakate, 19 Taiasina Tuifua, 20 Pierre Bernard, 21 Julien Rey, 22 Metuisela Talebula.
Referee: Laurent Cardona