Planet Rugby

Boudjellal 'preparing to lose'

17th May 2013 10:23

Share:

Mourad Boudjellal celebrates Toulon s Heineken Cup semi final win

Stirring the pot: Mourad Boudjellal

Never short of an entertaining soundbite, Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal claims he has already accepted second place in Saturday's Heineken Cup Final.

In an obvious attempt to deflect the limelight away from his own star-studded squad, the outspoken comic book tycoon has lauded the depth of Clermont's resources ahead of this weekend's showdown at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

"We are up against a very impressive team," said Boudjellal earlier this week.

"We would be stupid to think we are better than Clermont. So we are preparing to lose. We will be the runners up and it's not that bad."

Of course, Boudjellal is nothing if not mischievous with his words, and nobody else in the red and black will be expecting a loser's medal.

Clermont won 24-21 in the first Top 14 meeting this season, but the pair shared the spoils in a 26-26 stalemate in Marseille last month, indicating there's not much between these two wealthy units.

Jonny Wilkinson scored 10 points when the sides last met, and the former England pivot is certain to have a say in the outcome on Saturday.

"There aren't many teams in Europe that can claim anything like the amount of bulk Clermont have, but Toulon are definitely one of them," wrote former Munster and Ireland back-rower Alan Quinlan in his column for the Irish Times.

"If they can keep it nip and tuck, they have an ace up their sleeve, because for all their vast array of talent, I still come back to one man. I come back to Wilkinson. He just stands out.

"Clermont are a better-balanced team but Toulon have the match-winner in the number 10 shirt."

Clermont may feel destined for victory, but coach Vern Cotter admits his side can't afford to let Wilkinson's left boot dominate a game that may be decided by kicking.

"For us, it is about being able to get fast ball, play a high tempo, keep them moving," said the Kiwi.

"That's our basic game plan. They are a very physical team, they dominate and then create gaps and exploit them."

Clermont can count on the trusted boot of Morgan Parra should it come to a kicking duel, with the French scrum-half leading Wilkinson in the tournament's top points-scoring charts.

  • Champions Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
Saturday , December 6
Sale vs Saracens13:00
Munster vs Clermont Auvergne15:15
Harlequins vs LeinsterTBC
Leicester vs ToulonTBC
Ulster vs ScarletsTBC
Montpellier vs BathTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
  • Champions Cup Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
Sunday , October 19
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
  • Champions Cup Table
Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Munster28
2Saracens25
3Sale Sharks11
4Clermont Auvergne11
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Leinster14
2Harlequins14
3Wasps11
4Castres10
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon28
2Scarlets24
3Leicester Tigers24
4Ulster21
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Glasgow Warriors29
2Toulouse28
3Montpellier22
4Bath21
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton25
2Ospreys25
3Racing Metro Paris14
4Treviso10