Friday 23 March 2018

Parra aiming to avenge Clermont's RDS defeat

Hugh Farrelly

CLERMONT'S Morgan Parra goes into Sunday's Heineken Cup clash with Leinster on a high after his 22-point haul steered his side to victory over Toulouse at the weekend, and the scrum-half believes the Top 14 champions are ready to exact revenge for last season's 29-28 quarter-final defeat at the RDS.

"We know we could well have won that quarter-final, so we know we have the potential to beat them this time round," said Parra, a Grand Slam winner with France last season.

"Last season, we missed out on the Heineken Cup semi-finals by just one point against Leinster and that was hugely frustrating.

"This is a key time in the Heineken Cup and I believe Round 3 will set the tone and after that match we will see clearer whether we are able to qualify and can get closer to our goal," the 22-year-old said.

"Winning the Heineken Cup title after finally lifting the Brennus Shield (Top 14) would be ideal for us. That would be a big statement and recognition. Our fate is in our own hands."

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt is well known to Parra and his team-mates and the 19-times capped Frenchman has enormous respect for the former Clermont backs guru.

"Joe taught us a rigorous approach, not the usual French way of doing things like we were used to," said Parra, who recently signed a contract extension with Clermont.

"He brought a lot to our club with his personal touch and led us, along with (head coach) Vern Cotter, to that long sought-after French championship title, so we owe him a lot.

"He will certainly use his insight and knowledge of our club to prepare his men.

"He knows us by heart -- and it might well give them an edge against us.

"Leinster have a huge number of international players and yet they always try their very best to be competitive in their domestic league as well as in the Heineken Cup.

"We know we are in for a tough series of games against Leinster but we have the same ambitions as them -- to do well in our domestic championship and go far in the Heineken Cup. Now it's down to us to do it."

Irish Independent

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