Wednesday 21 March 2018

Peter Bills: Leinster-bound Schmidt ends Clermont stay on high note

Peter Bills

At least Leinster's new coach will start next season a winner.

Leinster may have lost the Magners League title to the Ospreys on Saturday but their new coach, New Zealander Joe Schmidt, will arrive in Dublin in triumph in a few weeks time after helping steer French club Clermont Auvergne to their first French title in 99 years.

Schmidt, backs coach to Clermont, celebrated long into the Paris night with his players -- and fellow Kiwi headcoach Vern Cotter -- after they beat reigning champions Perpignan 19-6 before 80,000 at the Stade de France. It was an emotional night for Schmidt and everyone associated with Clermont. The club had never won a French title in its history and had lost all 10 of its previous finals. Schmidt said "For me, because I am leaving, it is fantastic but more so for the town and guys like our captain Aurelien Rougerie who had come here five times and lost.

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