O'Connell: Clermont clear favourites

Mon, 08 Apr 2013 09:19
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Paul O'Connell has already installed his team as firm underdogs to reach the 18th European Cup final in Dublin.

Paul O'Connell has already installed his team as firm underdogs to reach the 18th European Cup final in Dublin.

The veteran Irish lock believes semifinal rivals ASM Clermont Auvergne will be "pleased" to have seen the Irishmen progress at the expense of Harlequins.

The former Irish and British Lions skipper has already played in six semifinals and knows what it takes to win overseas.

But standing in his way of a possible fourth European Cup Final is one of the best teams in Europe.

"It's going to be very tough going forward and I'm sure Clermont will be delighted they got us and not Harlequins," admitted O'Connell.

"It's going to be very tough for us to beat Clermont. They have power across the park and just look at their bench - any team in Europe would like to have their bench in their 1st XV.

"These young guys at Munster can give anyone a game, but it is going to be very tough."

Having played only seven games in the past 11 months due to knee and back injuries, O'Connell is still getting back to his best, but after his Man of the Match performance in the quarterfinal in front of the three British & Irish Lions coaches, Warren Gatland, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, he looks destined for a third tour this summer.

"I feel very much back in the mix after a game like that. There was a lot of doubt after last week - we felt we threw a bit of a dummy against Glasgow, which wasn't our intention, and we were a bit down in the week," said O'Connell.

"To be back involved with it is great. I've a little bit to go with my match fitness, but I'm delighted to be back playing and to have come through another match injury free."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 20 October 2017
Scarlets v Bath 18h45 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 21 October 2017
Australia v New Zealand 09h00 Brisbane
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 12h00 Scotstoun
Sharks v Blue Bulls 12h30 Durban
Treviso v Toulon 14h15 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Western Province v Golden Lions 15h00 Cape Town
Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Leicester Tigers v Castres 16h30 Welford Road
Munster v Racing Metro 16h30 Thomond Park
Saracens v Ospreys 18h45 Allianz Park
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 1 1 0 0 5
Ulster 1 1 0 0 4
Harlequins 1 0 0 1 1
Wasps 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 1 1 0 0 5
Clermont Auvergne 1 1 0 0 4
Ospreys 1 0 0 1 1
Northampton Saints 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 1 1 0 0 5
Exeter Chiefs 1 1 0 0 4
Montpellier 1 0 0 1 1
Glasgow Warriors 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Racing Metro 1 1 0 0 4
Castres 1 0 1 0 2
Munster 1 0 1 0 2
Leicester Tigers 1 0 0 1 1
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Bath 1 1 0 0 4
Toulon 1 1 0 0 4
Scarlets 1 0 0 1 1
Treviso 1 0 0 1 0