Byrne: It's a dream come true

Sun, 28 Apr 2013 12:32
Large leebyrneclermont Large clermont v munster2 Large clermont v munster3 Large clermont v munster

Wales and Clermont fullback Lee Byrne says it's a dream come true to have reached the European Cup Final.

Wales and British and Irish Lions fullback Lee Byrne admitted that Munster gave his Clermont side their toughest game of the season in the European Cup semifinal at a passion-packed Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier on Saturday.

The Top 14 leaders seemed to be well in control at 16-3 just after the break, but were forced to hang on for grim death at the end as a Ronan O'Gara inspired fightback brought Munster back to within one score of reaching a fifth European Cup Final.

But the French club, boasting players from nine different countries in their side, held on to make up for their bitter disappointment in losing to Leinster in last season's semifinal.

"It is a dream come true for me to finally reach a European Cup Final," said the former Ospreys star. "But you can't take anything away from Munster - they wore their famous red jersey with real pride.

"It was the toughest game we have had all season and you've got to hold your hands up to Munster for that. We had a few opportunities, but the ball didn't stick.

"We got a bit nervy, but hopefully we will come back stronger for the Final. Whoever we face we will do out homework and come out firing."

Byrne will be hoping to become only the ninth Welshman to take home a European Cup winners medal in Dublin on Saturday, 18 May, and follow in the footsteps of Tony Rees (Brive, 1996), Ieuan Evans, Nathan Thomas, Richard Webster (Bath, 1997), Andy Newman, Allan Bateman (Northampton Saints, 2000), Rob Howley (London Wasps, 2004) and Gareth Thomas (Toulouse, 2005).

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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10