Clermont remain upbeat
January 15, 2008

ASM Clermont Auvergne made it three out of three at home in this season's Heineken Cup - but are left relying on others if they are to make the quarter-finals for the third time.

And the Round 5 losing bonus point collected by Munster put a huge dent in the French club's last eight hopes as they prepare for their trip to Llanelli Scarlets.

"We were pleased to have beaten Munster at home last weekend but very disappointed to have lost the bonus point," said international back row forward Elvis Vermeulen.

"At half-time it looked like we might come away with a bonus point and then 10 minutes from the end the game could have gone either way.

"But to have come out of this Pool unbeaten at home is already something to be proud of, given the quality of the opposition we have faced, and now we are focusing on going to Wales to play Llanelli Scarlets.

"The Scarlets are one of the beautiful teams in Europe. They are capable of playing some great rugby and it is going to be very tough for us to beat them, let alone get the bonus point, but we know what needs to be done and we will go out looking for the result.

"We need to focus on getting the result against Llanelli and then see what that means in terms of the permutations. We need to stay positive this week and not focus on what might have been.

"The spirit of this side is all about working together and moving forward as a team and that's what we intend to do. We have beaten Wasps and Munster this season - the Heineken Cup champions of 2006 and 2007 - and that's something to be very proud of, whether or not we get out of this Pool.

"And of course anything is possible in rugby so getting the bonus point against Llanelli is not out of the question.

"If we can stay focussed, and perform like we did in the first half against Munster last weekend, I think we still have a chance of coming out of this Pool. It's not over until it's over.

"We need to look at the errors we made and try and find solutions to the problems we had on the pitch against Munster as we go forward into our game against Llanelli. Our discipline is clearly something we'll be looking at over the week but the match in Wales is going to be a big challenge for us.

"It would be easy to talk about regrets this year - to have lost to Wasps by one point and to have lost at Thomond Park - but it shows what this side is capable of achieving.

"Now we will keep moving forward and prepare ourselves to take on the next challenge. We have taken this tournament very much match by match and I think that has served us well. Now the Munster match is gone, we will focus on Llanelli.

"And as to a prediction for the Munster-Wasps match, that's a tough one. Having played against both of them I can say it's bound to be a very physical confrontation and probably a fantastic match.

"I think Munster will edge it because of the home advantage and I know they have a formidable record at Thomond Park but probably it will come down to injuries and the bounce of that ball - it's always going to be that way at this level."

HEINEKEN CUP 2007 / 2008
(All kick-offs LOCAL times)


Pool 4 Biarritz Olympique v Viadana 21.00 Andrew Small (E) Canal+ Sport
Pool 4 Glasgow Warriors v Saracens 20.00 Alan Lewis (I) Sky Sports

Pool 1 Newport Gwent Dragons v Perpignan 13.30 Chris White (E) Sky Sports / S4C**
Pool 1 Benetton Treviso v London Irish 14.30 Pascal Gauzere (F) Sky Italia / Sky Sports ***
Pool 5 Munster v London Wasps 17.35 Nigel Owens (W) Sky Sports / Sport+** / RTE**
Pool 5 Llanelli Scarlets v Clermont Auvergne 17.35 George Clancy (I) S4C** / Sport+
Pool 6 Toulouse v Edinburgh 16.30 David Pearson (E) FR2 / Sky Sports ***
Pool 6 Leicester Tigers v Leinster 15.30 Christophe Berdos (F) Sky Sports / RTE**

Pool 2 Gloucester Rugby v Ulster Rugby 13.00 Romain Poite (F) Sky Sports
Pool 2 Bourgoin v Ospreys 14.00 Wayne Barnes (E) Canal+ Sport/Sky Sports***/S4C**
Pool 3 Bristol Rugby v Cardiff Blues 15.00 Alain Rolland (I) Sky Sports
Pool 3 Harlequins v Stade Français Paris 15.00 Tim Hayes (W) FR2 / Sky Sports ***

** Highlights
*** Live via interactive


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