‘Clermont won’t cry endlessly’

Date published: May 2 2015

Clermont boss Franck Azema was defiant in defeat after his side lost out in the Champions Cup Final at Twickenham.

Drew Mitchell's try ended up being too much for Clermont to overcome as they went down 24-18, with Toulon claiming a third straight title.

Not faulting the effort of his squad, Azema did single out Noa Nakaitaci's rash moment of indiscipline as he looked back on a disappointing outcome for his side.

"We put everything into it, a lot of work, energy and emotion. We lost and that’s fair enough but there’s nothing to say regarding the game. We were close but we didn’t let go. The ball that was thrown away was stupid and that’s not acceptable at this level," said Azema.

"We knew what to expect and we’re very disappointed.

"We could have won. They were dominating physically but I think we came back into the game and we could have tilted it, but for the try we missed those tackles and that’s it. That’s what makes them a great team, with great players."

Azema revealed that Brock James had been ruled out after he suffered an injury to his quad in the warm-up

"James felt pain in his quad when he kicked and felt pain when trying to accelerate, so there wasn’t any point in keeping him in."

Eager for his squad to look ahead to the possibility of winning the Top 14, Azema added that his squad would dust themselves off quickly.

"Europe is over but the Top 14 isn’t, so we’ll digest this and start again next week at Grenoble. I hope we’re not going to cry over this endlessly. We’ve lost it, but let’s move on, otherwise we might as well just hang ourselves tonight, so we have to be strong enough to move on. Again though, congratulations to Toulon."

Scrum-half Morgan Parra conceded that the number of small errors Clermont made in the end killed off their chances, finishing as runners-up for the second time in three years.

"This is rugby on an international level. Toulon are a very big team physically and they took over the game and were able to score," he said. 

"They were clinical in their actions and our small mistakes put them back into the game. We could have given them some doubt but we helped them in a way with our mistakes. It could have gone either way – that’s the law of sport. When we lose of course it hurts, it hurts us, but this was a big opponent.

"We’re humans and not machines. If we were like that we could have won tonight, but that’s not the case."