Final makes Bastareaud nap more

Sat, 03 Jun 2017 17:39
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TOP 14 NEWS: Mathieu Bastareaud says he's been kipping more than he's used to as his Toulon side prepare to face Clermont in Sunday's Top 14 final.

Bastareaud has played more matches than any of his teammates this season and on Saturday admitted that the workload has been taking its toll.

"I need to have more naps than usual - we're all tired," said the 28-year-old.

"It's a long season, but for matches like this, you forget - whether it's the quarterfinal, the semifinal, we put all this behind us and you give everything for your mates,"

Although Clermont are slight favourites, Toulon come into this match in great form, having won six games in a row since Englishman Richard Cockerill took over from his countryman Mike Ford in April.

And that run has left Toulon feeling confident.

"We're more united because, on top of that, we had an end to the season where we couldn't afford any slip-ups," added Bastareaud.

"We had that win at Bordeaux [in April] when we hadn't won away for six or seven months.

"That really tough [quarter-final] match against Castres and another one [in the semis] against La Rochelle - that consolidated something in the team.

"We're all excited to be playing on [Sunday]."

Although Toulon are slight underdogs, they have a strong record against Clermont in finals, beating the Jaunards in the 2013 and 2015 European Champions Cup title deciders.

Clermont are often accused of choking having lost 11 out of 12 French league finals during their history.

But Bastareaud is not reading anything into that.

"I have a lot of respect [for Clermont]. We keep saying it every year but Clermont are really the reference in French, or even European rugby.

"Every time, they're not far from winning. As Richard said, they're the favourites."

Agence France-Presse