Rougerie and Byrne facing fitness tests ahead of Exeter Chiefs visit
CLERMONT Auvergne may be boosted by the return of experienced backs Aurelien Rougerie and Lee Byrne this weekend.
The duo returned to training last week after injuries and were due to have fitness tests today (Thursday) to determine whether they would be in contention for the penultimate round of pool fixtures in the Heineken Cup.
Captain Rougerie injured his right ankle during the 48-3 win against Bayonne at the end of December and was eased back in with a cycling session last week. After reporting no problems, he joined his teammates for an open training session on Monday this week.
Wales and British Lions full-back Byrne has missed the last three games after breaking a bone in his lower back but started running last week.
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Despite the absence of the pair, Clermont won a 53rd consecutive home game last time out as they saw off Montpellier 36-18.
That was a fifth win in a row in all competitions for the side that have won all four of their matches in Pool Five of the Heineken Cup to sit eight points clear at the top of the group.
That means they just need a win against Exeter on Saturday to secure a place in this season's quarter-finals.
If they do make the last eight, it will be the third time in the last four seasons they have progressed to the knock-out stages.
The only other side that can join them in going through this weekend and that is runaway Pool Three leaders Harlequins. Toulon are the third team to have won all four matches this term.