Peter Betham scored twice as last season’s Top 14 runners-up Clermont Auvergne began the new season with a 28-10 beating of 14-man La Rochelle.

Clermont were defeated 24-18 by Toulouse in June’s showpiece and began their attempt to go one better with a convincing win over semi-finalists La Rochelle, who they also defeated in the European Challenge Cup final.

The teams were tied at the break as Betham’s converted score and a penalty from Jake McIntyre were answered in kind by Pierre Aguillon’s try and a three-pointer from Brock James.

But another McIntyre penalty and Betham’s second try preceded a red card for Sila Puafisi, who was pinged for a high tackle on McIntyre, and two-cap Australia winger Betham set up Judicael Cancoriet in the closing stages to complete the win.