| 6°C Belfast

Davies turns focus onto Top 14


Clermont Auvergne and Wales centre Jonathan Davies was dejected during the defeat at Twickenham

Clermont Auvergne and Wales centre Jonathan Davies was dejected during the defeat at Twickenham

Clermont Auvergne and Wales centre Jonathan Davies was dejected during the defeat at Twickenham

Wales centre Jonathan Davies believes that cup final bridesmaids Clermont Auvergne can end their season with a trophy.

Davies and company were ultimately powerless to prevent Clermont from suffering Champions Cup heartache at Twickenham as Drew Mitchell's brilliant late try saw their fellow French heavyweights Toulon capture an unprecedented European title hat-trick.

While Toulon celebrated their 24-18 victory, Clermont could only reflect on a 13th cup final loss - two European Cups, one European Challenge Cup and 10 French championships.

But with this season's league title still up for grabs in France - Clermont currently trail leaders Toulon by four points heading towards the play-offs - Davies insists they can feature at the business end.

"This defeat is tough to take, but there is a lot of the season to play for in the Top 14," he said.

"We have got to make sure we bounce back - we can't dwell on this one.

"We are in a good spot in the Top 14. There are some tough games coming up, and there is a lot to play for. We have the quality in this team to win the league, I feel."

Clermont last secured domestic title honours in 2010, but European glory continues to elude them, with their record showing two final appearances, plus two losing semi-finals and three unsuccessful quarter-finals.

"We started very well, but we slipped off our first-up tackles in that middle period, which let Toulon into their game, and they were effective when they got on the front foot," Davies added.

"We gave them opportunities for easy points with silly mistakes and soft penalties. We let them in the door, and to be fair, they were clinical and took their chances.

"They are a team of winners.

"They have come from all parts (of the world), and they've all won, whatever competitions they've been part of, and to win three European titles shows they are a quality team and you can't give them easy opportunities.

"They have experience in their ranks.

"They've recruited extremely well - World Cup winners, Tri-Nations winners - and that experience helps in big games. When you are in that arm-wrestle, they deliver under pressure and deliver the goods, really.

"At the moment, you feel pretty God damn low.

"As Welsh people, we say we are passionate, but this Clermont support - 42,000 turned up two weeks ago in the yellow and blue (against semi-final opponents Saracens) - and our travelling fans again showed the importance of the club to them (at Twickenham)."

Clermont have three games left before the play-offs - including a home fixture against Toulon on May 17 - and head coach Franck Azema has no doubt his players will recover quickly for the challenges ahead.

"Europe is over, but the Top 14 isn't, so we will digest this and start again next week at Grenoble," he said.

"I hope we are not going to cry over this endlessly. We've lost it, but let's move on."

And scrum-half Morgan Parra added: "Toulon were clinical in their actions, and our small mistakes put them back into the game.

"When we lose, of course it hurts, and we know that every small detail is decisive. They scored during their key moments, and they are a strong team."