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RugbyU: Parra one man show takes Clermont top

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

France scrum-half Morgan Parra produced a superb performance to score all of Clermont's points in a 25-13 win over Stade Francais on Saturday to leapfrog the losers into top place in the Top 14.

Parra scored six penalties and a converted try as Clermont recorded their 72nd successive win at their Marcel-Michelin stadium and give them a two point lead over Stade after 18 matches.

Parra, who missed out on selection for the first two of France's Six Nations games because he only returned to action from injury recently, said that it hadn't been one of their best performances.

"We were a little off our game, maybe we rushed things too much because we felt a bit of pressure or perhaps it was because we hadn;t played together for a fortnight," said the 25-year-old 54-times capped star.

Stade captain Jimmy Arias, who was sin-binned early in the match, said that it was important Stade learnt from the performance.

"It is a pity as we came here looking to do better than this," he said.

"The important thing is we bounce back from this game and don't let it affect us on the run in to the play-offs."

Stade -- who were missing nine players through injury and several others away on Test duty -- had opened the scoring through South African star Morne Steyn with a penalty in the seventh minute.

However, Stade were reduced to 14 men in the 14th minute as Arias was sin-binned for preventing Clermont from getting the ball from the ruck -- Parra converted the penalty to bring the scores level at 3-3.

The hosts looked to have taken the lead with the first try of the game in the 17th minute but Stade's Paul Williams's crunching tackle on Jean-Marcellin Butin forced the Clermont player to spill the ball as he crossed the line.

Instead it was Stade who regained the lead as Steyn added a second penalty shortly before Arias returned to the fray.

Parra brought the teams back to parity with 13 minutes remaining of the second-half and then gave them the lead for the first time with a third penalty in the 37th minute.

Stade's scrum was buckling under the pressure from their opponents and conceded another penalty on the stroke of half-time which Parra had no trouble in converting to give them a 12-6 lead at the break.

Clermont edged out to a 15-6 lead shortly before the hour mark as Parra slotted over his fifth penalty after Jerome Fillol was penalised and the Stade scrum-half was sent to the sin bin as well.

Parra added yet another three points in the 62nd minute to give Clermont the breathing space they required as Stade wilted.

Parra's one man show continued as he caught the Stade defence napping when Clermont were awarded a penalty five metres out and he darted over to touch down -- adding the conversion for 25-6.

Stade grabbed a try of their own in slightly fortunate fashion as Steyn's chip ahead came off Buttin's leg and Australian wing Digby Ioane was on hand to pounce on the ball for his first try in the Top 14 -- Steyn converted for 25-13.

pi/ak

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140208/rugbyu-parra-one-man-show-takes-clermont-top-0