Clermont confident before its Challenge Cup half: “We are no less strong than the Sharks”

Clermont confident before its Challenge Cup half: “We are no less strong than the Sharks”
Clermont confident before its Challenge Cup half: “We are no less strong than the Sharks”

By Thomas Corbet
Published on

30 Apr 24 at 4:19 p.m.

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Despite an upset season in the Top 14, Clermont gave himself a good dose of confidence by largely controlling the leader during the 22e championship day. Thanks to this success, and in continuation of a solid final phase in Challenge Cupthe ASM can move towards its semi-final against the Sharks with the hope of achieving a final.

Clermont with confidence

The Clermontois put the roller coaster cliché into practice like no other team this season. Capable of the worst in the Top 14 with several setbacks conceded at home like against Toulon or the reworked Toulouse team, the Auvergnats are also capable of the best.

A more positive face that they largely showed in the Challenge Cup, as during their triumph in the quarter-final against Ulster (53-14) or against Stade français more recently (41-18). And which allows them to make the transition between the two objectives in good spirits.

“It was good for us to get back to victory, it was up to us to keep this momentum going for our half. I don’t think there is a risk of getting scattered, there is above all a dynamic that we must find again. This victory against Stade Français did us good and it should motivate us for the future,” hopes pillar Rabah Slimani.

Showdown in sight with the Sharks

On the road to ASM now stand the South African Sharks, with in their ranks some names that are enough to make you dizzy: Bongi Mbonambi, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch… A beautiful line-up of world champions, especially within a thick pack.

Not enough to impress left-hander Giorgi Beria, however: “The Sharks are a big team, big names, half of whom are in the national team. They are known and recognized. It’s super strong, but I don’t think we’re much less strong than them. We will try to compete on this level. »

“The Sharks are partly the South African team. But we also have assets to counter them, even if we know that it will not be easy. You will have to put everything into it, speed, strength, intelligence and discipline,” says Slimani.

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When I look at the number of internationals we have, I don’t know if we should have doubts or fears. We also have our weapons, physically we are strong.

Julien LaïrleClermont forwards coach

The Challenge Cup semi-final between Clermont and the Sharks will kick off on Saturday May 4 at 1:30 p.m. In a Twickenham Stoop where the Auvergnats will seek, once again, to take a good breath of fresh air.

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