— Stade Rochelais (@staderochelais) September 9, 2017
Gabriel Lacroix helped himself to a hat-trick as the champions were ruthlessly put to the sword – La Rochelle gaining a measure of revenge for missing out on the title, despite leading Clermont by seven points in last season’s table.
Clermont prop Raphael Chaume and wing Remy Grosso were sin-binned in a miserable first period for Clermont, the latter yellow carded for deliberately knocking on a pass which looked set for a try, resulting in a penalty score.
Trailing 43-6 at the break, Clermont’s woes continued when Lacroix completed his hat-trick after Camille Lopez fumbled the kick-off.
Tries from Fritz Lee and Peter Betham did little to salve the champions’ wounds.
Ruan Pienaar kept Montepllier in the contest, booting 17 of their points, including a penalty and the conversion of Nemani Nadolo’s try as the visitors produced a late burst to snatch the points.
Racing 92 ran in 15 unanswered second-half points to register a second win of the season by seeing off bottom club Brive 25-6, with Bordeaux two points adrift after beating Stade Francais 30-10 on home turf.
Oyonnax grabbed their first win of the campaign in a low-scoring affair against Agen, coming out on top 12-10.