Champions Cup – In South Africa, Lucas Dessaigne and Clermont have a season to restart

Between the departure of Jono Gibbes and the arrival of Christophe Urios, the ASM players focused on their next encounter against the Stormers (Saturday at 6.30pm) on the other side of the globe. In Cape Town since Tuesday, Lucas Dessaigne and Jaunards will above all tighten up before they can see a feat at the DHL Stadium.

The news was rich in Clermont this week. Jono Gibbes’ departure on Monday made way for The arrival of Christophe Urios, this Wednesday. The manager’s first press conference on Thursday has woken up a club so far crushed by a heavy defeat in his hole against Leicester (29-44), and poor overall dynamics (three wins in seven games).

In this context, the main players of the club prepared for a tough trip to the Stormers, 9,000 kilometers from the Place de Jaude. Lucas Dessaigne, one of the young hopefuls of ASM, explains how the Jaunards have apprehended this special week. “We arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday and we trained every morning. This week also gave us the opportunity to do afternoons of togetherness. We had a big team meal outside the hotel, we went on a trip to Table Mountain… These are excursions, there are goals left because we have a big game on Saturday, but these moments were important for the whole group. We have to tighten up”.

The Clermont players were able to share highlights with the hundred yellow and blue supporters who came to Cape Town. Under the South African sun and twenty-five degrees, the Jaunards did not come to the land of the Springboks to offer gifts to the Stormers.

“We will qualify”

Lucas Dessaigne is suffering from a head trauma and has not played since last October and the reception of Bordeaux-Bègles. The hard-working winger has been training normally for a month and knows how crucial this week could be for ASM. “If this trip comes at the right time? If we win it, and if we lose, we will have sought closer relations between us, which will count for the end of the season. But the goal of the twenty-three who will play on Saturday will be it to play a big match because we want to qualify”.

The defense of Cheikh Tiberghien and Clermontois in the first leg had paid off.
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Despite several leaders remaining in Auvergne (Lavanini, Raka, Penaud, Falgoux), Jared Payne chose to field a fairly competitive team to try and take down the Stormers. As a reminder, ASM had won (24-14) in the first game with a particularly imperial second period. Lucas Dessaigne starts the game on the bench, the one with ants in his legs.

My absence was extremely long, but I had no choice. I took my problems patiently trying to get back as soon as possible. Today, I don’t ask myself questions at the main level. I am especially impatient to resume the evacuation during this whole period!” explains the native of Enval (Puy-de-Dôme). Dessaigne, like his teammates, hopes that this distant escape will restart the Clermont season after the beautiful promises of the autumn.

“We know where Christophe is going, we will have to stand behind him”

Lucas Dessaigne also reacted to the change of ASM coach, explaining in particular his disappointment at seeing Jono Gibbes leave the Marcel-Michelin stadium. “I was very disappointed because it was the coach who really threw me in the deep end. Now it’s not up to me to judge the decisions of our managers. Christophe arrived, we had a first video conference where he basically said they same thing as during his presentation to the media. I look forward to working with him. We know where he’s going, we’ll have to be with him.”

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