Top 14 - Newspaper Review
Perpignan and Toulon jubilant
April 5, 2010
Stade Francais upset the form book against Clermont © Getty Images
Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel has hailed his players after the Catalan side reaffirmed their championship credentials with a hard-fought 11-17 away victory over Castres on Saturday night. The result moved the reigning champions three points clear of Castres and Toulon as the play-offs loom.
"It was a really tough battle with the game decided in the details," Brunel told l'Equipe. "We played with maybe a little more experience and cohesion than Castres. Luck smiled on us and we are delighted with it. To win in Castres, which no side has managed until now, is not a small thing. But we've always stepped up for the big matches away from home this season. This was one of these games where we stepped up all again; that augurs well for the future."
Meanwhile, Clermont Auvergne scrum-half Morgan Parra has claimed his side will bounce back after suffering a 19-10 defeat in Paris against Stade Francais. Les Jaunards have a difficult assignment in the Heineken Cup away to holders Leinster in Dublin next weekend but the France No.9 claimed they wouldn't spend too long reflecting on the performance.
Speaking to Midi Olympique, Parra said: "Was this match a worry before going to play Leinster next weekend? Not at all. We were a little lost and weren't at all aggressive enough. We need to spend the week working and put things in place. But we know we can do it. We got it wrong [in Paris] - it's not necessarily the case that we'll get it wrong against Leinster."
Toulon's 31-13 victory over Bayonne confirmed the club's place in the Heineken Cup next season, a milestone for the club's owner Mourad Boudjellal.
"I'm just happy because it's an adventure that started four years ago and tonight I think we accomplished what I wanted to achieve, namely to qualify for the playoffs and the European Cup next year," Boudjellal told Var Matin.