Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper bemoaned a shocking first-half performance as his team were hammered 52-26 by Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Champions Cup.

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Hooper’s men were 40-14 down at the break after conceding six tries as Clermont recorded a bonus point inside just 20 minutes.

Alivereti Raka and George Moala both grabbed doubles after tries from John Ulugia and Damian Penaud, before well-beaten Bath regrouped in the second half to grab a bonus point of their own.

Hooper said: “It was always going to be a tough ask to come here and win. In the first half we were absolutely nowhere near where we needed to be.

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“We made error upon error and gave a quick and powerful team the opportunity to get into the game. We were out there, but not competing.

“As we went into the second half we talked about giving ourselves an opportunity and scoring four tries was the outcome of that.

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“Clermont are a quality team and when we gave up possession and penalties it gave them an opportunity.

“When we get under pressure we need to be better at adapting to that. We have to address it and get more width in our defence.

“The changing room is obviously gutted. No one in there wants to put in that sort of performance and rightly so.

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“We can’t be in a position where that is acceptable and we need to respond now going into the London Irish week.”

Camille Lopez and Jake McIntyre completed Clermont’s eight-try haul after the break, but the French side did not hit the same heights in the second half.

Jack Walker and Ruaridh McConnochie scored for Bath before the break and the visitors did rally as the game went on.

It allowed Tom Dunn and Josh Bayliss to both score and secure the bonus point before Sam Nixon was yellow carded for cynically trying to stop a Clermont attack.

Clermont are now a point behind Ulster at the top of Pool 3.

Number eight Fritz Lee said: “Credit to our team, it wasn’t an easy game. We score a lot of tries in the first 20 minutes of games, but then it’s a challenge physically and mentally.

“This win will give us massive confidence. Ulster’s win over Harlequins made it difficult for us and every single point matters.

“We have to focus on ourselves and not focus on anybody else. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, but we are looking forward to playing against Ulster.

“I think we have the team to go all the way, it’s just a matter of injuries.

“Hopefully some guys will come back to help us and we’ve got a massive opportunity with two games to go.”

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