The reactions after Saracens vs. Toulon
Here the main reactions after the Champions Cup game between Saracens and Toulon. Our men in red and black lost 10-3, but have secured their place in the quarter-finals against Clermont.
Mourad Boudjellal, RCT Chairman: “A quarter-final between Toulon and Clermont… Well, that’s quite a bother. I would have liked to face a club from another country, like Clermont, I think. True, we’re going to play against them once more, but Clermont seems one level ahead of us this season. You would have to be blind not to notice it. I had mentioned the third game against Clermont as the most important one and it’s going to be played earlier than expected. Our main objective was to qualify for the quarter-finals: I would rather face the French team of Gaillac, but they haven’t qualified for the tournament. So, we’ll content ourselves with Clermont.”
Mike Ford, RCT manager: “The Chairman had told me the team had to qualify and that’s the case. We should have won the game, because we had many opportunities to score. The Saracens defence was good enough to prevent us from doing so, and Tuisova also let a ball slip before grounding it.”
Guilhem Guirado, RCT hooker: “We had come to qualify and we leave with the qualification secured. So, it’s quite positive. We wanted to make up for our defeat against Saracens at the Stade Mayol and I think we achieved this, too. We started the game very well. It was an intense one and we were the more committed side. But we wasted too many chances and, in the end, we paid the price for it. During the week, our commitment level went up a notch, but I wanted the team to show this spirit on the pitch. Talking is fine, but it’s much better to act.”
Juan Martin Fernandez-Lobbe, RCT back row: “Do I retain the qualification or the defeat? I personally retain that we’re into the quarter-finals for the fifth time in a row. The intensity of the game was extraordinary, with much physical commitment. It feels good to qualify after such a top-level game, but I think there’ll be regrets when we watch it on video. We had three or four opportunities to score a try and we missed all of them.”
Franck Azéma, Clermont manager: “Usually, we face Toulon in the final. This is going to be quite a showdown! What was useful in the two games already played against them was building up our self-confidence. And that’s what our European campaign has brought us as well: there are good reasons why we ended up as the best European club in the group stage! Our level of playing is satisfactory on the whole. But, as Mourad Boudjellal said, it’s the third game that counts and we’re well aware of it.”
Sources: post-game mixed zone and press conference, lequipe.fr, Var-Matin, lamontagne.fr.