Top 14 Orange
Parra hails Clermont supporters
May 16, 2011
Clermont's Julien Malzieu is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring © Getty Images
Clermont Auvergne scrum-half Morgan Parra has lauded their fans for cheering the club to a huge comeback victory over Biarritz.
The French champions overturned a 14-point deficit to beat their play-off rivals 27-17 and secure a Top 14 semi-final spot.
Behind 17-3 on 38 minutes, the champions' hopes of successive finals looked all but gone, but a vital Parra penalty on the stroke of half-time reduced the deficit and kick-started a thrilling comeback.
"I want to thank the public who supported us throughout, and always believed in us even when we were 3-17 down," Parra told La Montagne.
"That gave us the strength to not let go. We saw that the group had character. Now, we must stay humble and continue moving forward.
"We'll need something beautiful in Marseille [against Toulouse] and playing the way we did in the first-half won't get us there. But I'm confident that the group will work over the next fortnight and we'll be present."
Meanwhile, Montpellier coach Eric Bechu believes their Top 14 semi-final against Racing Metro will be like 'a cup final'. His charges overcame Castres 18-17 at the weekend to qualify for their first ever semi.
"It'll be like a cup final and it will be up to the players," Bechu told La Depeche du Midi. "The staff [of the club] have never been French champions, nor have the players. It's their quest now, even if myself and Fabien will help as much as we can."
Bechu intends to lighten the player's workload this week and believes that recuperation is the most important thing after a typically physical play-off game against les Castrais.
"Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we give the lads a few days because the bodies will be sore," he said. "Thursday and Friday, we'll start working on Racing. It's important for the players to recuperate and find their appetite. I'm hoping that with an extra three days on the weekend we'll be ready for the match at Stade Velodrome."
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