Camille Lopez scored 19 points as Clermont thumped La Rochelle 44-6 in round one of the new Top 14 season.
Clermont, who lost 12-6 to Stade Français in last season’s final, sent out a strong message by running in five unanswered tries against the insipid hosts, who only managed one penalty either side of the break.
Elsewhere, Grenoble also made a winning start by defeating Agen 38-23 in front of their home supporters. Agen led 13-12 at the break, but four second-half tries saw the hosts overturn the deficit to record a convincing win.
Toulouse clinched a 24-7 win over Brive at the Stade Ernest-Wallon in an ill-disciplined affair. Both sides were reduced to 14 men and Toulouse conceded a penalty try. Luckily for the hosts, their three first-half tries were enough to hold off Brive.
Pierre Barnard kicked four penalties to guide Bordeaux to a nervy 19-16 win over Castres. Both teams scored one converted try, but Bordeaux’s flyhalf slotted one more penalty than his opposite number Ben Urdapilleta.
Jake White’s Montpellier cruised past Oyonnax 35-19. They ran in five tries of which two were converted and conceded just one try.
And on Friday, Chris Masoe scored a late try to help Racing upset Toulon 27-22 at the Stade Mayol. The hosts led 16-11 at the halfway mark, but Racing came out firing in the second stanza to more than double their points tally.
Round 1 results:
Clermont 44 La Rochelle 6
Grenoble 38 Agen 23
Toulouse 24 Brive 7
Bordeaux 19 Castres 16
Montpellier 35 Oyonnax 19
Racing 27 Toulon 22
Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/Getty Images