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Kiwis in Europe: George Moala pick of the bunch in commanding performance for Clermont

George Moala scores a try for Clermont in their Champions Cup victory over Bath. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

George Moala is proving just as hard to contain on the fields of Europe as he was in New Zealand.

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The 29-year-old former All Black crossed for a brace in Clermont’s 52-26 demolition of Bath in round four Champions Cup action over the weekend. He made 12 carries for 62m and continues his strong form, this time in the No 12 jersey.

Alongside him were fellow Kiwis Isaia Toeava, Fritz Lee, Loni Uhila and Faifili Levave for Les Jaunards.

Clermont holds second spot in Pool 3 behind leader Ulster, which dispatched Harlequins 34-10, with Matt Faddes scoring a try for the Irish province. Sean Reidy was also in the starting line-up. Francis Saili turned out in the Quins’ midfield.

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Ben Volavola and Dominic Bird enjoyed a 40-27 Racing-Metro victory over Ospreys, which fielded Marty McKenzie and Ma’afu Fia.

 Sean Maitland scored a try as Saracens defeated Munster 15-6.

The Toulouse trio of Pita Ahki, Jerome Kaino, back in his familiar No 6 jersey, and Joe Tekori tasted a 26-18 victory at Montpellier, which fielded Nemani Nadolo and Kahn Fotuali’i.

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Connacht, with Dominic Robertson-McCoy and Bundee Aki in the ranks, defeated Josh Hohneck’s Gloucester 27-24.

Monty Ioane scored a try for Treviso in the 25-22 win over Rudi Wulf’s Lyon. Jayden Hayward, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara and Hame Faiva all played a part in the Italian club’s victory.

Glasgow fell 12-7 at home to La Rochelle, which will be hard to take for Callum Gibbins and former Highlanders prop Aki Seiuli.

Leinster’s imperious form shows no sign of abating, James Lowe crossing for another try in the 50-21 shellacking of Northampton. Jamison Gibson-Park was used off the bench for the victors. Ahsee Tuala scored a try for Saints, while Matt Proctor also featured in the starting XV.

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Exeter beat Denny Solomona’s Sale 35-10.

In the Challenge Cup, Alex Tulou scored a try in Castres’ 22-10 win over Enisei. His fellow loose forward Maama Vaipulu was yellow-carded.

Brive beat Zebre 24-10, with So’otala Fa’aso’o and Wesley Tapueluelu in the ranks. The Italians fielded former Manawatu outside back Junior Laloifi, Josh Renton and Jimmy Tuivaiti, who was binned.

A Simon Hickey penalty goal proved the difference as Edinburgh edged Wasps 8-7. Simon Berghan was a replacement prop for the Gunners. Wasps included Malakai Fekitoa and Jimmy Gopperth in the midfield, Lima Sopoaga, who kicked a conversion, and Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

Toulon’s Kiwi trio of Bryce Heem, at fullback, Julian Savea, at centre, and Liam Messam enjoyed a 26-20 away victory over London Irish, for whom Terence Hepetema was binned and Motu Matu’u entered the fray off the pine.

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Telusa Veainu and Jordan Taufua were in the Leicester squad that beat Samuela Vunisa’s Calvisano 20-13.

Ben Botica slotted three goals as Bordeaux-Begles defeated Agen 33-6. Seta Tamanivalu was used in the No 12 jersey for Bordeaux.

Tom Taylor also kicked three goals for Pau in the 34-29 win over Cardiff Blues. New signings Ben Smith and Luke Whitelock, plus Ziggy Fisi’ihoi, were alongside him for the French club. Rey Lee-Lo and Filo Paulo turned out for the Blues.

Bristol’s Kiwi contingent of Alapati Leiua, Chris Vui, Jake Heenan and Nathan Hughes scored a tight 18-16 win at Stade Francais.

Brad Mooar, who is working through whether he can join the All Blacks coaching group in June, enjoyed another good victory with his Scarlets club, this time 46-5 over Bayonne. Locks Sam Lousi and Danny Drake featured. Bayonne fielded Alofa Alofa and Census Johnston.

Round five of the Champions and Challenge Cups takes place on January 10-12. Domestic competitions resume this weekend.

In other news:

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J
Jon 2 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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