Wesley Fofana scored the only try of a tight first European Champions Cup Semi Final on Saturday, as Clermont beat visiting Saracens 13-9 to set up an all-French final meeting with Toulon. They faced the same team in the 2013 final, but came up short on that occasion.
Stade Geoffrey-Guichard was packed with 42 000 fans and despite the close scoreline, they were not dissapointed, as a piece of brilliance from flyhalf Brock James set Fofana up for what proved to be a crucial score in the grand scheme of things.
Earlier bustling winger Napolioni Nalaga came within inches of crossing, but was bundled into touch by Chris Ashton, who on another day might have been dealt with for a no-arms tackle.
Clermont’s Welsh centre Jonathan Davies has said that wins like that justify his move to France.
“Days like today are why I joined Clermont. As a rugby player you want to play in front of big crowds and you want to win things, and the reason I came to Clermont was to win things.
“That was a big thing for me: Clermont were traditionally always up there competing for championships. So the opportunity for me to come here and play with some great players and be involved with a great club, I’m very lucky.
“There’s a lot of rugby to be played and I look forward to being involved in it and hopefully we can get some silverware, because this club deserves some silverware after some painful, close shaves. We need to make sure that we get championships for this great club,” Davies said.
Fullback Nick Abendanon said that he feels it’s time for Clermont to take the top spot.
“It is another final for Clermont and we honestly believe this is our year. We have worked so hard to get here that, hopefully, it will be our year. It has been a hell of a ride in the Champions Cup this season.”
He too said that days like that were one of the reasons he moved to France.
“The noise in the stadium was deafening and you simply don’t experience anything like that kind of atmosphere in English rugby.”
The final against defending champions Toulon will be played at Twickenham on 2 May 2015.