The declarations ahead of the Clermont vs. Toulon game
Here are the main declarations of the Toulon and Clermont staff and players before the clash between the two teams, on Sunday, on Day 16 of the Top 14 (kick-off time: 9 p.m.).
Mike Ford, RCT manager: “We come prepared to win the game, but we also know that Clermont is a very solid team who plays very well. We’re working hard to reel in this team on top the table and we have much respect for Clermont. The best way to prepare for Sale and Saracens is to deliver the goods against Clermont.”
Jean-Charles Orioli, RCT hooker: “There’s a recent history between those two teams and, because of it, this game has something peculiar. Such rivalries are good for rugby union: it’s good to have a few crunch games like this in the Top 14. The media talk about it a lot and this enables us to prepare for the game in good conditions.
Axel Muller, RCT wing: “I’m happy to be part of this team and, if the circumstances decide that I’ll play on Sunday, I’ll be very happy to. There is much competition here and I’m still working hard to play as best as I can. Each game, for me, is a new opportunity to show what I can do and I hope I’ll be up to scratch if the coach needs me. I played against Clermont a few months ago, so I know the team a little. Some of my fellow Argentinian countrymen play for Clermont: it’s a very good team, they’re top of the table, and the early part of the game is going to be crucial.”
Franck Azéma, Clermont coach: “We face a huge challenge for the start of the year. It’s difficult to look beyond the game against Toulon when we see what’s looming on the horizon. The RCT is really on our minds, even if we still have to think about what’s coming up next. We worked with seriousness and dedication through the whole week and we are aware we have to be on top of our game. To win, we’ll have to impose our game and our rhythm on the Toulon team and its backline, which has proved to be very solid for a few weeks. The goal will be to play as perfect a game as possible: the basic things will have to be set up, we’ll have to show discipline, realism and play a free-flowing game. The players have to master all those things for the knock-out stages and this is the way we’ll grab victory on Sunday.”
Sources, pre-game press conference, asm-rugby.com.