Sunday Apr 28, 2013 Clermont through to first ever Heineken Cup Final after tense win over Munster

Clermont through to first ever Heineken Cup Final after tense win over Munster
42
Comments

Clermont will face Toulon in the final of the Heineken Cup after a tense 16-10 victory over Munster at the Stade de la Mosson on Saturday. It will be their first ever Heineken Cup final in what in what will be a closely fought all French affair in Dublin.

Clermont looked in control for a large part of the game after having scored a stunning try early on through powerful winger Napolioni Nalaga. Munster couldn’t stop the powerful French outfit extending their lead, as Morgan Parra slotted three penalties in total, taking the gap out to 16-3.

Two-time former champions Munster came back late in the piece though as Denis Hurley got on the end of a well placed Ronan O’Gara stab through. It wasn’t enough however and all hopes of a dramatic comeback were snuffed out by the might of this very impressive Clermont side.

On a weekend where veteran number tens shone, it would have been fitting if O’Gara had somehow manufactured a victory for his side, but as it was there were tears in the end and it was perhaps the last time we’ll see him grace the tournament.

He said that he wasn’t focussing on himself but would give it till the end of the season to decide whether he will hang up his boots of play another season with Munster.

Lee Byrne was delighted with the victory, but also paid tribute to the courageous effort from the visitors. “It is a dream come true for me to finally reach a Heineken Cup final. But you can’t take anything away from Munster – they wore their famous red jersey with real pride,” he said.

Clermont will face Toulon in the Heineken Cup Final in Dublin on May 18th, kickoff at 17:00 local.

Below are both tries and on the next page you can view emotional interviews with victorious Byrne and Nathan Hines, as well as distraught O’Gara and Paul O’Connell.

Interviews with Nathan Hines and Lee Byrne, as well as Munsters Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell

42 Comments

  •  rugby08
    rugby08

    Please shut the hell up Damo, you vile Munster troll

    Reply
  •  pinksnotdead
    pinksnotdead

    Usually I never check a post more than once but the debate is actually very nice. I'm with TotesMcGoates on the Russia/Georgia in the HC. Who would watch Bucarest-Agen in the AC? Is it even on TV? Besides it's the AC's role to develop the game in Europe. Although, off topic, this year I saw Poland-Ukraine (3rd International division) on streaming and my word the Ukrainian where playing a fantastic brand of rugby: counter-atttacking from their 22, playing fast pace rugby, offloading... So it's not only the usual Georgia or Japan (best brand of rugby in the world in my opinion) that are improving. I heard Cyprus could qualify for the world cup too! As far as the HC format is concerned, I don't think there is actually any French rugby fan that would like to change the way it is. This competion seems to improve by itself every single year. Why fix something that is not broken? I'm sure the English fans feel the same way. The one for who it is really not working are the Welsh. Maybe they should forbid their welsh players to play abroad, but I feel something is deeply wrong in their club rugby: they have some fantastic players, but in front of how many people do they play? When was the last time a welsh club reached the HC semi ? 2009, no? At some point the WRU is bound to see that they must ask theirselves some questions.

    Reply
  •  totesmcgoates
    totesmcgoates

    The beauty of the Heineken Cup is how competitive it is, we all know how crucial bonus points etc can be in the pool stages. I don't think having Toulouse flogging an amateur team from Romania would do the tournament any favours.

    Reply
  •  totesmcgoates
    totesmcgoates

    Well, it's all relative, isn't it? I think the Irish clubs are allowed 5 or 6 players from overseas. Compared with Australia, I believe the established clubs are only allow 2 foreign players while the Force and Rebels are allowed 3. Similarly with the South African clubs, only 2 foreign players can play in each game (you may remember the Southern Kings controversy from earlier in the year). It's the same thing as a Waratahs supporter complaining of the big money in Leinster attracting a Rocky Elsom etc overseas. I don't know the specifics of the finances of each club but I think that Leinster pull a bigger crowd than the 'Tahs every week so I'm assuming that they have more money to throw around based on that. It's been said earlier, each system has its merits and pitfalls. I think it's just a case of different strokes for different folks.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    You can justify it all you want, but the fact of the matter is, French clubs have huge financial resources compared to other clubs, which they use to buy foreign players, and since there doesn't seem to be any limit of the amount of foreign players in the French teams, people understandably feel that these French teams are just using their money to buy the best players and are therefore buying their way to success, which seems quite unfair, and could lead to a situation like the current one in soccer. You're absolutely right in saying that the arguments are more valid for Toulon than Clermont, but I think considering how many mercenaries the two teams have (19 out of 30 last weekend), together with the publicity that the Jonathan Sexton move to Racing has created, along with the increasingly alarming lack of French players in key positions in the traditional French rugby powerhouse Toulouse, as well as the recent exodus of Welsh players to French clubs, people are getting very worried about the future of the game. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the rugby Clermont play. I think they play really attractive rugby, even if I think they shouldn't be allowed to buy so many foreign players, and maybe it is inappropriate for all these comments to be made here rather than on the Toulon video, but even if it's inappropriate, the arguments still stand, and in my view are very valid.

    Reply
  •  youngguns
    youngguns

    why are Irish fans giving out about the french clubs having a much higher salary cap then us on this? the french clubs have always had more money then us since the game went professional. still hasn't stopped us winning 6 Heineken cups. the same as the french! all the french are doing is ruining there future progression at the sport because the higher the salary cap goes the more lucrative foreign players they can bring in. ruining the chance for their young players. what i don't like though is the fact that they are now trying to get rid of Scottish and Italian teams from the Heineken cup. them and the English clubs are so flipping self centered it's ridiculous. if they want to change the Heineken cup do it to benefit the sport not your own pockets! Europe has the highest playing population in the world and the oldest international tournament in the world. yet it has only been changed twice in its history. I feel that they should change the Heineken cup to include teams from countries like Georgia, Romania (both are regular RWC teams now), Russia, Spain and Germany ... make it Change the qualification process completely as well. From the RD12 - top 2 irish teams, top 2 welsh, top scottish and italian. this means that where the teams finish actually matters and makes the league more interesting, money, higher attendances (the irish clubs keep the average up really!) the top 3 french and top 3 english. 4 spots for georgia romania russia, spain, germany. 2 for the finalists of the amlin and the last 5 are decided through qualifiers. the qualifiers can be done at the end of the season because all the teams involved in the business end of the season will generally have already have qualified. if they haven't amends to fixture dates can be done. IRB should really make a big effort to rugby going big time in Germany. biggest!economy in Europe. plus the children there actually want to play the sport. spent a summer there and my school mates loved the sport!

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    french fans don't say "money is not important", they just consider it necessary as french clubs fight on the 2 strongest clubs competitions of the nh (top14 and Hcup) and like noticed before, i'm generally pretty fan of the rugby played by irish teams (especially Leinster), but some irish fans acrimonious remarks just don't have their place on this blog, and particularly on this Clermont victory thread. I fact, all this very "intelligent" exchange on "money rule the world" or "french teams aren't...frenchs" would have been (maybe) more credible on Toulon thread.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    Ok Colombes, my correct, factual points obviously show that my knowledge of French rugby is poor. How foolish of me. But regarding the 'light' Pro 12 calendar, some people would say that playing difficult matches every week trains you to be good. I find it hard to believe that the Irish teams could just not try for the 22 Pro 12 games there are a year, and then suddenly become excellent for the 6 Heineken Cup ones. I'd argue that if they're so good in the Heineken Cup, then they must have learned to be good from somewhere. And I think Munster vs Leinster for example is as important as any Heineken Cup game. Yeah, there are low quality games like Zebre vs Edinburgh, but first of all the Italians and Scottish need a league to play in. I'd say the Top 14 expanding to include the Italian teams would have been perfect, but it didn't expand, and instead, the Celtic League welcomed them. Secondly, I don't know why you have such a high opinion of the Top 14. The top 6 are pretty good, but then the rest of the teams are terrible. Bayonne vs Agen is a worse standard than anything in the Pro 12. If you compare the Pro 12 teams against the best 12 of the Top 14, I think the Pro 12 teams are definitely as good.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    I appreciate your points here, and I appreciate that you're actually making logical arguments rather than saying simply, "No, money isn't important" but I don't really understand your 'protectionism' point. Irish people can play abroad, although the Irish clubs try to keep the Irish players. And similarly, French players can play abroad, but very rarely do, so it's the same in both countries.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Thx for these realist comments which end a debate which was never one.

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    We indeed do deserve this final :p Especially since we've beaten the main Irish clubs, my favorite "foreign" clubs. I don't think the point is deserving a final or not (how many times would we deserve to have won against Leinster... :D), it's a matter of differences between systems: money in France is countered by the calendar and the protectionism in Ireland (can an Irish play abroad?). Both have pros and cons: great foreign players and great local league or developing local players... etc An Auvergnat supporter.

    Reply
  •  totesmcgoates
    totesmcgoates

    On the subject of "ManCity-ification", isn't this the first time that two teams with big budgets described in the posts above have met in the Heineken Final? I'd understand concern about money dominating the sport if this was happening every year but this has not been the case in the past number of years. I think Clermont in particular have been one of the best sides that I've seen in either hemisphere this year and they deserve to be there in the final.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    There are always examples of home grown ability, but there is still the inescapable issue of budgets, there is simply no way that UK teams could afford to assemble the squads that the top top 14 teams have. Like I've said before, this is not the fault of the French teams, however, it is unfair to clubs here that are handicapped by rules. I did enjoy your comment(s) though, keep it up

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    And even the smallest budget in there is 50% more than any English club is allowed

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    Italy and Scotland in the North are not the same as Argentina in the south. With the exception of this years 6N, which was highly unusual, Italy and Scotland are just not competitive internationally, and neither are their club sides (Edinburgh had a good H cup run last year, but how'd they do this time). As much as I hate to say it, I think if the NH is going to keep pace with the SH in future we either have to steal all their players (Top 14 is admirably doing its part here) or find a way to encourage genuine competitiveness in our competitions. And one way to do that is re examine who is given places in the H cup

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    New Zealand and Australia are desperately looking for ways to stem the flow of their developed pros up to the NH. One of the key options they are looking at is increasing the amount of money in the game in their countries. How they do this is something that is being looked at and could go several ways. But the result will be the same. Unfortunately, in any market once you get a buyer with a lot of money, the other buyers will have to find ways to increase their budgets to compete for the best resources. And this invevitably means we are heading down the Man City/Chelsea route, for better or worse. Also, I think we ought to be careful about referring to Barrit as bringing through our own players.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    We should all abide by the same rules, and currently we don't, financially any way. As I say later on it is a sore point here in the UK, but it isn't the fault of the French that we're still trying to play our league in a quasi amateur manner.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I think you made some sensible and excellent points in your two posts. For example the fact that there are some rather youtube-ist comments on this post today, mostly coming from the same person. Please post more often because your points of view make good reading.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    I think dismissing those points as bias, stupidity and sour grapes is a bit biased and stupid of you. Heineken Cup success is down to all those things that you mentioned. You failed to mention however that success is also down to being able to have the best players, and you also failed to say that if you have much more money than anyone else you'll invariably be able to buy the best players. If it was down to just the factors that you listed, Munster would have easily won the game with their superior experience and heart etc. The fact is though that Clermont's players are far better, the reason being that they were able to buy world-class talent. In fairness, they have some great French players as well, so they're not as bad as Toulon in that sense, but to dismiss the argument that French clubs buy players and therefore buy success as sour grapes is just foolish. I mean at the end of the day, 19 out of the starting 30 of Clermont and Toulon at the weekend weren't French, so I think saying they have an unfair advantage in that they can buy in whatever mercenaries they want is a perfectly valid point. Do you think they go to France to be able to play for teams with good management and strategies, or do you think they go because they can earn a big sack of money? If money is so unimportant, would Clermont and Toulon be in the final if they weren't owned by millionaires who gave them loads of money? No way.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Absolutely baffled by the stupidity of some comments over here and there Trying to justify Munster defeat by the money power of french clubs, or simply saying that french clubs aren't frenchs. I hear the same biased semantic each year Hcup success is due to an amount of experience, management, fitness peak and strategy. Like Clermont, u must lose, to know how to win... If money ruled the world, France would have win the 10 last hcups. but they didn't! Certainly because they have less heart, passion and pride than irish provinces, etc bullshit... etc topics... Sour grapes really can create total delirium, really.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    I don't mean for this to just sound like sour grapes, because Clermont were ten times better than Munster, and if Munster won it would have been a tragedy (although a welcome tragedy from my perspective). But the thing is, to everybody here and in the media in general who is saying that there's an all-French final - there is not an all French final. The two clubs are French, yes, but considering that more than half of the players are going to be non-French, it's not a French final; it's an international final. I mean, 8 out of 15 for Clermont, and an unbelievable 11 out of 15 for Toulon who started at the weekend weren't French, so the idea of calling it a French final is just ludicrous to me. There were actually as many English players in the Toulon starting team at the weekend as French. Two French clubs will be playing, but there won't be two French teams playing. You can say they deserve to be in the final and that they're the two best teams around, fine, but to call them French is just incorrect.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    Colombes, you think 'discrimination' in sport is a terrible thing, so does that mean international matches should be stopped because foreign players are 'discriminated' against?

    Reply
  •  mise
    mise

    Funny and interesting point at the end there Vanadyel. And has been said, lots of countries do impose limits of players, mostly through international caps 'bribe'. All protectionisms impose limits and sometimes that can be, or seem, unfair: but of course there are numerous ways, sometimes unintended, that unfairness emerge. Esp in an unbridled pure capitalist system. My own feeling on the Irish recent dominance of the H cup was that it was in part caused by some judicious national-provincial player management, helped in no small part by a tax intensive for retiring players. Before professionalisation, almost all Irish players played in the UK, and it was a dark dark time for the national squad. They were appalling. Of course Leinster ended up loosing N Hines to....Claremont because of the rules/limits in Irl.......

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Maybe "positive" but still "discrimation" I would prefer to see top14 clubs discovering by themselves all the benefit to form and give the keys to young lads, than to be submitted to rules ;)

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    I'm sorry I don't see the downside of a "positive discrimination" in sport.

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    Also that's funny cause when Irish clubs were winning we thought that was unfair because of the difference of systems, and we were ready to change the Hcup. Now that French clubs are winning, the Irish think it is unfair, and for the same reason.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Too much sour semantic over there... France salary cap had a perverse efect with a lot of recruitment in the SH, but like said before, things will be more regulated in following years. There isn't a lack of talent in youth squads, far from that. The system and some french management mentalities wasn't just favourable enough for them. Limit the number of foreign players on match sheet? That's a "discrimation" and would lead to the same football statements of "Arret Bosman". I won't answer on the argument "ireland vs france mentality" who doesn't even deserve an answer. France does its "market" in pacific islands? I didnt know that manu tuilagi was... french. Are u referring to Tolofua, Vahaamina, Taofifenua who are all french born...? Or is it because the racingman Vaikatawa has claimed he would be interested to play for france... France is doing no favours to the game...? As you seem to favour ridicule arguments, fair enough

    Reply
  •  iamaroman
    iamaroman

    There seems to be a lot of talk about Clermont's budget and fairness. There is no correlation between the two. When two teams play each other, there is no thought about budget difference, it is entirely about beating the other team no matter what. When Clermont and Munster started this game, they both started at 0-0. Clermont played better, and so they won. Grenoble beat Toulon two weeks ago, and their budget is very low in comparison. If anyone has any evidence to show that the greater budget, the more victories - please share.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    And your point is? I don't see what this has to do with my post.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    Off course the amount of overseas players in the top 14 is having a negative influence on the results of the national team (despite this they came second in the World Cup, basicly without a coach). On the other hand: you can't just compare both countries. The French (for their national selection) can select from 14 teams, the Irish from 4. That alone is a reason to force the team to keep the amount of foreign players low in Ireland.

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    That is pretty true, the real rugby leaders in France being the clubs' presidents. I also agree on quotas of French players actually playing (starting XV). I think it all comes down to one thing: there should be a unique system in Europe or even in the world (but let's first begin with EU), having the experience of the errors of soccer.

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    Quickly checked the facts: France was 5th this year in U20 (better than main team who was last...). But the 2 years before we were 2nd. So, you know, there's no real trend here. As for local players (or at least trained locally), the requirements are getting higher every year. Today, 50% of players have to be trained in France. Next year (or the year after, I think it has changed), it's gonna be 60%. I think we need more rules but we have lots of great players to come (Fofana who just became famous, Buttin, lots of guys from Toulouse...)

    Reply
  •  mise
    mise

    Man city have a really long history too. They also had the best U23 team in Britain, locally built up, before the money came in. Then that disappeared into the ether. This final represents big money. That's unquestionable. And its something rugby fans think about from time to time - and this is an apt time to think about it, because this final has these teams in it because of big money. Yes, they have real fans and long histories, more than many teams do. But that alone would not have gotten them into the final. Sometimes, things are protected and for good reason: Irish club numbers of foreign players for eg. (and of course in life outside rugby that happens too, and again for good reason - PGI DOC PDO etc in food) Of course every single fan would like their individual club to have loadsa money. That's a pointlessly obvious and myopic notion. But something is lost when the game becomes primarily about the worlds top 100 players in each hemisphere playing almost exclusively for whoever pays the most. This is especially the case if there are weak or no rules on balancing the books (even soccer is getting rid of that one soon, thankfully). One of the many effects of this is that fans become irreverent cheerleaders as the years roll by: replaceable by other, better paying fans if they don't like the arrangement. When this happens, rugby may be a large spectator sport, but it will be something only slightly more relevant than 3d cinema or an xbox. Specifically: @colombes you are making presumptions. I know that well paid players can try hard etc @vanadaryl thanks for the extra info (the 4th Irish club qualified this time around because Leinster won last time. And if the negotiations go a particular way about how the H cup works, Italian and Scottish teams may end up never even getting close to competing) And obv there is more to this than the two french clubs btw - its at a trend, a dynamic in the game that's worth examining.

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    So I guess we should all abide by the same rules, to be fair, don't we? The next question being what are the better rules/system...

    Reply
  •  connachtman
    connachtman

    LOL, Poor suffering Munster, cry me a river, you were beaten by the better team, Earls is not a winger or centre, not Clermonts fault he cant understand the finesse of backplay, and as a Connacht supporter I find it hilarious that Munster supporters complain about fairness regarding playing field /budgets, should we compare Connacht's budget vs the other Irish provinces? "Four Proud Provinces " yeah right. Munster so vain when they win and so bitter when they lose! Suck it up. Well done to Clermont and the style of rugby they play. Hope they win the Cup!

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    We'd all love our club to have access to that sort of money, but we aren't allowed it, even if we find it, and that is sort of unfair. Having said that, it isn't fair complaining at the French, it should be the RFU(?) that gets blamed, the way they financially govern the Aviva premiership is absurd. And from the very brief bits I've read on the subject, the WRU is no better.

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I guess every professional club/province would like a higher salary cap combined with someone that has the same funds as Boudjellal. So it would be quite hypocritical to critisize other teams for it. If you don't like the money that's going round in our beloved sport nowadays....well, try supporting a team that does not play at the highest level.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Second video no worky on my telephoney :( oh and for crying out loud quit your bitching, I can't seem to conjure up that image of Doug Howlett wearing the green of Ireland in the past, anyone else recall it? I personally do think it's a shame when teams are far from local or far from its own nation of players, but that appears to be the way rugby is heading and Clermont is not the only team to have foreign players... I recall a while ago the Saracens being likened to a Bok second team, countless players have crossed borders in the UK to play for others. Rather than blame the clubs why not go all out and blame the players, "yeh well done Hines, you gave up the freezing highlands or wherever you were and moved to a lovely warm part of France" ... Actually whilst we're on Hines, wasn't he born somewhere completely non-scottish?

    Reply
  •  welshosprey
    welshosprey

    Good heart from munster against the odds, they did themselves proud

    Reply
  •  vanadyel
    vanadyel

    Clermont was created in 1911 and is in the French 1st division (now Top 14) since 1925. Though one must admit that money is a key to stay at this level: In the French league, all clubs can go down divisions. The 2 last (13th and 14th ranked) clubs go to the 2nd division (Pro D2) and only the 6 (or 7) firsts access the Hcup, which contrarily to Irish club system puts a high pressure on your local league results. Whereas 3 or 4 (all) Irish clubs are automatically qualified. That is what triggers the run to high budgets in France. I'm not saying which one is better system, and there is a debate here whether French club should adopt the Irish provincial system. Toulon has a big rugby history as well, and only injecting money in the club was not the only key to success. Example: Racing-Metro 92 and Saracens have a moderate fan basis, which might explain why their success is limited (I like to think the XVIth man is real important in rugby). But don't worry, the Frenchmen do not worship euro bills. And actually a lot of French supporters despise Toulon for several reasons: it could be their money (though I think that is called jealousy), it could be for their supporters who whistle every single kick attempt of the opposite side or any referee decision (but they call this their rugby culture), or it could be for their president Mourad Boudjellal who also can easily spit on refereeing (see the "refereeing sod*my") or anything he may not like/agree with. Hmmm I think I slightly digressed here, but at least you now know more about French rugby. An Auvergnat supporter.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    thx for the comment, Comparing Clermont with Man-City perfectly epitomises that few (not all) fans ignorance towards french rugby and top14 in general. U blame the salary cap? just like Cockerill, well, it's not top14 problem, but a premiership one U think Clermont and Toulon are a marketing thing, these 2 clubs are 100 years old, with a big and passionate fan basis. Not like Saracens unable to gather moire than 20000 fans in Twickenham... U think Clermont and Toulon doesn't represent the rugby valors of suffering? Well,Clermont had to be 10 times in TOp14 finals before to win it, and slowly but surely progress inHcup.... When Toulon had to come back from Pro-D2 thx to Boudjellal personnal finance efforts I can understand after-match bitterness and jealousy, but a bit of objectivity should be welcome. Rugby trolls relentlessly rolling on...

    Reply
  •  mise
    mise

    finally the big big budgets in France are starting to work at H cup level: these 2 finalists have budgets many multiples of munsters...and yet, that second kick through almost yielded a try near the end for munster, and you know o gard would have converted for 16-17. Ah well. The man-cityification of rugby rolls relentlessly on.

    Reply

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Clermont through to first ever Heineken Cup Final after tense win over Munster | RugbyDump