In a clinical six-try performance Clermont beat Racing 47-10, while there were also French Top 14 wins for Stade Français, Montpellier, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Grenoble and Toulon.
The Saturday fixtures of round 4 saw all the home teams win their respective matches, but it was Clermont’s 37-point victory over the defending champions that was the biggest surprise. While the overall result perhaps wasn’t all that surprising, the manner in which Clermont achieved it will hurt the inept Racing.
The hosts completely outplayed and bamboozled Racing, with winger Noa Nakaitaci bagging a hat-trick of tries and scrumhalf Morgan Parra succeeding with four conversions and two penalties for a 14-point haul.
First-half tries by Nakaitaci and flyhalf Camille Lopez coupled with a penalty try and two penalty saw Clermont open up a 27-point lead. Racing eventually got on the scoreboard with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Clermont’s stranglehold on proceedings continued after the break with Nakaitaci dotting down twice to complete his triple, while teammate Davit Zirakashvili also barged over to score. To make matters worse for the visitors, Lopez slotted a drop goal in-between all the scoring.
South African winger Sean Robinson crossed late in the match for Racing's only try, but it will be scant consolation for the out-of-sorts reigning champions.
Meanwhile, Stade edged Castres 29-25 despite being reduced to 14 men in the 58th minute when flyhalf Jules Plisson received a straight red card for foul play.
Elsewhere, Montpellier cruised to a 41-13 bonus-point win against Pau, Bordeaux smashed Bayonne 40-20 and Paul Jordaan starred for La Rochelle, who defeated Lyon 43-18 in a match marred by ill-discipline.
On Sunday, Grenoble outlasted Brive to wrap up a 36-23 victory in a controversial match that produced three red and three yellow cards, and Toulon returned to winning ways with a 32-15 victory against hosts Toulouse.
Round 4 results:
Clermont 47 Racing 10
Stade Français 29 Castres 25
Montpellier 41 Pau 13
Bordeaux 40 Bayonne 20
La Rochelle 43 Lyon 18
Grenoble 36 Brive 23
Toulouse 15 Toulon 32
Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/Getty Images