Planet Rugby

Bonnaire in it to win it

27th April 2013 22:20

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Bonnaire clermont

Julien Bonnaire: 'You always remember the winners'

Clermont captain Julien Bonnaire said his team won't settle for anything less than Heineken Cup glory after making the final for the first time.

Favourites Clermont qualified for the final after ousting two-time winners Munster 16-10 in a bruising semi-final at Montpellier on Saturday.

The Top 14 leaders will face either compatriots Toulon or English Premiership pacesetters Saracens, who play at Twickenham on Sunday, in the May 18 final.

But Bonnaire said the Jaunards will not be settling simply for that piece of history.

"For Clermont, for me, for everyone, it will be our first (final). It's many things, it's the validation of a lot of work, many difficult past experiences but payback for all the hard work the team has done," he said.

"But it's not an end in itself to reach the final. You play a final to win it.

"You always remember the winners. The toughest get there, it will only be great if there's something at the end."

Fijian winger Napolioni Nalaga scored a try for Clermont while France scrum-half Morgan Parra kicked 11 points.

Clermont totally dominated the first period but dogged defence from the 2006 and 2008 champions kept the score at a respectable 13-3 at the break.

And when replacement Denis Hurley crossed midway through the second period to reduce the arrears to 16-10, Clermont knew they were in a dogfight.

But the Vulcans held out to make up for last year's painful 19-15 reverse to Leinster in Bordeaux at the same stage.

Bonnaire admitted that score had sent jitters running through his side.

"Yes, we were scared. We lacked good management in the important second half moments," he said.

"The great teams manage the battles better, we've still got a lot of work to do there."

The final whistle sparked wild scenes of celebration both on the pitch and in the stands as Clermont's long wait to reach a European Cup final came to an end.

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