CLERMONT AUVERGNE REACHED their first Heineken Cup semi-final with a dominant display against Saracens but man-of-the-match Brock James’ attention was already on Leinster.
The French side will play the Blues in Bordeaux on April 29, with the winner going on to the Heineken Cup Final in Twickenham.
James kicked 17 points for Clermont after coming on as an early replacement for the injured David Skrela. The last time his team played Leinster, the Australian had an awful kicking performance.
He said, “It wasn’t a great day for me. Luckily enough, I kicked some goals early on today. Some days it doesn’t go for you. We lost by two points and I missed two drop goals and five kicks for penalties or conversions.” James added:
I wouldn’t think of (the match) too much as revenge. It is a new competition and we’ve got, pretty much, a new team. It is a fresh season but we are keen to get stuck into them.
Pride in the defence
James revealed that the team tactics were to kick the ball in behind Saracens and squeeze them for space. He added that the collective defensive effort the whole team is invested in.
“We’ve built on it from the start of the season. Even in the French league we have not conceded that many tries. It is something we have prided ourselves in,” he added.
Hines is on O’Driscoll’s case less than an hour after Clermont’s win.
Saracens coach Mark McCall remarked that Clermont had defended ‘extraordinarily well’.
The Ulsterman reasoned, “This competition is a level up and Clermont are an outstanding side. We’ve tasted a bit of the action and we want to be back next year.”