Scottish scrum-half Greg Laidlaw claimed 18 points as French Top 14 leaders, Clermont, ended La Rochelle’s run of seven straight wins with a five-try, 44-19 victory on Sunday.
Laidlaw scored one of his team’s tries and booted two conversions and three penalties — all in the first half — as Clermont stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to three months.
Clermont were rarely threatened on Sunday racing into a 13-0 lead after 23 minutes thanks to two penalties from Laidlaw who also converted his own try.
Former All Blacks back-rower and La Rochelle skipper Victor Vito and replacement winger Geoffrey Doumayrou kept their team in touch either side of a Peceli Yato try on the stroke of half-time.
Clermont made the most of La Rochelle’s indiscipline, being awarded a penalty try in the 57th minute for a 30-12 advantage.
In all, the visitors gave up 19 penalties and had three players sent to the sin bin.
George Moala and Tim Nanai-Williams added second-half tries for Clermont as the leaders grabbed a bonus point.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Marisa Kennedy)