Association Sportive Montferrandaise Clermont Auvergne (pronounced: [klɛʀmɔ̃ ovɛʁnj]) is a Frenchrugby union club from Clermont-Ferrand in Auvergne that currently competes in Top 14, the top level of the French league system, ASMCA is the 2010 France Top 14 Champions. It is the rugby section of the multi-sport club AS Montferrandaise, which was founded in 1911 and adopted that name in 1922. Although the rugby section changed its name to the current ASM Clermont Auvergne in 2004, it is still frequently referred to as Montferrand both within and outside France.
The team plays at the Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin (capacity 18,030) and wears yellow and blue, which are the colours of the city of Montferrand, where Marcel Michelin, the founder's son of the famous French tyre manufacturer, decided to implement the first factory but also the stadium after the creation of ASM for its workers before World War I. L'ASM, as they are also called, are the traditional underdog, always cited among early favourites and praised for their style of play, but never winning when come spring. They have reached the French Championship final eleven times, losing on each occasion until their eleventh trip in 2010, when they finally won the championship. The perennial bridesmaids in their 100th year as a club broke through and conquered France, beating Perpignan in a rematch of the 2009 final.
The club was established in 1911 as AS Michelin, though they changed their name to AS Montferrandaise in 1922 due to legal obligation. The club was started by Marcel Michelin, the son of André Michelin, founder of the Michelin tyre manufacturer. The club made its first final of any competition in 1935, where they played Perpignan for the Challenge Yves du Manoir. AS Montferrand lost the match, 3–3 and 9–0. The following year they featured in their first championship final; though they lost to RC Narbonne 6 points to 3. They made the final again in 1937, though that match was also lost, 13 points to 7 to CS Vienne. However the following season the club won its first title; winning the Challenge Yves du Manoir by defeating Perpignan 23 points to 10.
During the 1940s the club contested the Coupe de France on two occasions, in 1945 and 1947. The club lost on both occasions, by one point, 14 to 13 to SU Agen in 1945, and then 14 to 11 against Toulouse in 1947. It would be another 10 years until the club featured in another competition final; losing to US Dax in the 1957 Challenge Yves du Manoir. The club became a force during the 1970s, starting in 1970 with a 3 points to nil championship loss to La Voulte Sportif. The club then contested the Challenge Yves du Manoir twice in a row over the 1972–73 seasons; losing both finals, against AS Béziers and Narbonne respectively. Then they won the competition in 1976, defeating SC Graulhet 40 points to 12 just a few days after the death of the young international winger, Jean-François Philiponeau, struck on the field during an exhibition game. The club then contested the championship final in 1978, though they lost to Béziers. They also lost the Challenge Yves du Manoir in 1979, against Narbonne.
In 1994 season the club contested both the French championship and the Challenge Yves du Manoir. They lost the Challenge Yves du Manoir to Perpignan (the third time the clubs had met in the competition final). They also lost the championship, defeated 22 points to 16 by Toulouse. The club contested two finals in the 1999 season as well, the French championship and the European Challenge Cup. They won the European Challenge Cup, defeating fellow French club CS Bourgoin-Jallieu 35 points to 16. However they lost the domestic final, being defeated by Toulouse again, 15 points to 11. The club would meet Toulouse again in the season final of 2001, with Toulouse winning 34 points to 22. In 2004 they contested the European Challenge Cup again, though they lost to English club Harlequins, by one point, 27 to 26.
But the team has known a hard period between 2002 and 2006 and only the arrival of Vern Cotter, at the middle of the year 2006, has boosted the team to his top form. For his first year, Vern Cotter has succeed in change the teamspirit. ASM reached his first final since 2001 (lost in the last minute against Stade Français) and won the European Challenge Cup against Bath during an epic game at the Stoop of Twickenham. For the second and third year with Vern Cotter, Montferrand developed again one of the prettiest games of the championship but lost again the two finals against Toulouse in 2008 and Perpignan in 2009.
In 2010, the team started to think about the Heineken Cup but was drawn against Leicester Tigers and Ospreys in a tough pool. But Montferrand succeeded in reaching first place of the pool and was drawn against the holders of the cup, Leinster Rugby. That was the beginning of one of the best rivalries in rugby. In an epic battle, Montferrand lost 29-28 (with an awful day for their fly-half Brock James).After this loss, they went on to win all of their remaining games to win the French championship against Perpignan (19-6).
In 2012 they reached the semi final of the Heineken Cup. They were beaten by Leinster Rugby and were inches from winning the game at the end but Wesley Fofana dropped the ball on Leinster's try line.
Clermont reached the Heineken Cup final for the first time in 2013 after they beat Munster Rugby 16-10 in the semi final. They subsequently lost to Toulon in the HEC final which was held in Lansdowne Road in Dublin on May 18, 2013 by a single point (16-15). In all ors history, ASM Clermont Auvergne has lost 21 finals.
In 2014, Clermont reached the Heineken Cup semi final of the play offs for the second consecutive time and lost to the Saracens 46 - 6, a final score that can be partly explained by the Saracens strong defensive scheme as well a "questionable" (Marc Liévremont) refereeing of the Welsh Nigel Owens, who granted a contentious penalty try to the London based team and then refused a valid try to ASM.