Clermont need electric shock - Penaud
October 25, 2010
Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher says their Heineken Cup form has aided their domestic challenge © Getty Images
Former France fly-half Alain Penaud believes Top 14 champions Clermont Auvergne are in need of some electric shock treatment to help them kick-start their season.
Penaud made his comments after watching Les Auvergnats suffer a 16-13 to Biarritz at Aguilera, a result which left them in eighth place in the Top 14.
"The team is definitely less impressive this season than last," Penaud told l'Equipe. "They had a little trouble getting over their title win but that's normal as they had been waiting so long. However I really thought that the Heineken Cup would prove to be a springboard for their play."
Penaud added: "Perhaps they need an electric shock. The team will have to find the automation and strive for excellence that brought them a title. And the coaches will have to stop making excuses."
Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher has pinpointed the Heineken Cup as the reason behind their five try 38-29 victory over Perpignan on Saturday. Kelleher put in a five star performance for the European Champions, who recovered from a 0-13 deficit at after half an hour to record a win that puts them back at the summit of the Top 14, alongside Montpellier and Racing Metro.
"The victory against USAP isn't directly as a result of our performance," the former All Black told Midi Olympique. "It's also about the culmination of a lot of physical and technical work done over the last three weeks. The break [from the Top 14] that the Heineken Cup offered allowed us to undoubtedly raise our game. In the match against Perpignan, we weren't a long way from test match level given the number of internationals on the pitch, the intensity and the spectacle."
With Agen and Bourgoin losing once more at the weekend, newly-promoted La Rochelle put further space between themselves and the relegation zone with a 26-21 win against Brive.
"We spent the afternoon running after the ball and defending," flyhalf Valentin Courrent explained to Sudouest. "But with the public behind us and our solidarity, we defended our lines [with a hunger] like we were starving to death."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September