Planet Rugby

Hayman eyes "classic" final

21st May 2014 11:12


Carl Hayman Toulon

Excited: Carl Hayman

Veteran Toulon prop Carl Hayman hopes Saturday's Heineken Cup final between his side and Saracens will prove to be a "classic".

The experienced Kiwi and former All Black was once regarded as the best tighthead in the game, and has his sights set on adding more silverware to his collection with his French club through to both European and domestic finals.

But with Sarries flying high in England, and battering Clermont to reach Saturday's showpiece, Hayman believes the stage is set for an encounter to remember.

"It's turning out to be a cracker of a match with the two teams that are top of their table," said Hayman.

"We've both been the most consistent teams over the last 10 months and I hope it will be a classic final.

"I hope it's a match of great quality and, hopefully, it will bring out the best in the players.

"The competitiveness of the competition is attractive to overseas players - there's no competition like it in the world. If you look at all the quarter finalists in this year's tournament, any one of the teams could have won it. So to have that quality of teams makes for a high quality competition."

Hayman was quick to join the great and the good of world rugby in showering the retiring Jonny Wilkinson with praise.

"Jonny Wilkinson's contribution to the game has been enormous. To be around for as long as he has and to play at the top level and achieve what he has achieved...players like that don't come around very often," added Hayman.

"It was hard to see him playing on this late in his career with the injury problems he had. He worked hard to sort them out and he's had quite a good run of staying injury free down here in Toulon.

"Other people might have stopped after the horrible run of injuries but it's a testament to his character that he played on. He's a mentally tough guy, he managed to hang in there, sort his body out and comeback and have four great years at Toulon.

"Now that he's announced that he's finishing, it will be a big loss to the game, but eventually, everyone will have to move on.

"We've got two big finals to come and it's a fitting way to bow out of professional rugby so we'll be giving it everything on his behalf and hopefully we can send him out in some sort of style."

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