The Clermontois will probably not wake up too late.
A big challenge awaits them as an appetizer for the year 2023, this Sunday at 9 p.m.: the reception of Stade Toulousain, leader of the Top 14. Defeat forbidden to Marcel-Michelin, for several reasons.
Firstly because the adversary has not won there for twenty years.
A dark series started in 2022 and that the Rouge et Noir will be keen to stop.
It's been twenty years since we won at the Marcel-Michelin, we will have to put a lot of desire and intensity to obtain a result there
", recalled the back Melvyn Jaminet in a press conference.
Schedule and Top 14 results
Ranking Top 14
But the ASM also wants to regain momentum after a sluggish autumn.
The summer had however been attractive, with three victories in the first five Top 14 games. The staff recruited by Jono Gibbes for his second season in Auvergne had managed to set up a rather sharp and effective game.
Witness the great victories against La Rochelle (22-13) and Lyon (43-20).
But that was before a stinging defeat against… Toulouse, in early October (46-10).
Since then, the Yellow Army machine has stalled a bit, with in particular the first missteps at home against UBB (23-23) and Bayonne (20-25).
Result, with a record too weak outside (one victory), Clermont can not hope for better than its current 10th place.
Defend without forgetting to attack
Just before the Christmas break, the Jaunards experienced a frustrating defeat at neighboring Brive (20-16).
They led the whole match, until the last second, without being much worried by miraculous Brivistes.
So what went wrong?
Reinforced by the arrival of Jared Payne in the staff, the defense was once again there, even if hooker Yohan Beheregaray regretted "
" and "
", symbols of a lack of lucidity.
It is rather the attack, and the possession in the opposing camp, which were insufficient.
Our defense performed well but we clearly defended too much!
“Plagued Jono Gibbes, in remarks reported by the club's official website.
Faced with the Toulouse offensive armada, it will certainly be necessary to defend well, but the New Zealand coach will not be content with it: “
If we are forced to defend 80 minutes against Toulouse, we will not hold out.
We will have to create opportunities, keep the ball, play the shots and not just defend.
“For the rest, and despite their 10th place in the standings, the Auvergnats are counting on the extra soul brought by the excitement of such a shock, and a Marcel-Michelin stadium which will be sold out.
The mind is there, we are hungry and we will be ready, assures Beheregaray.
No matter the situation, when you receive Stade Toulousain you have to play your best game anyway to compete.
What reception for Damian Penaud?
To attack and produce play, Clermont can count on the newfound efficiency of Alivereti Raka.
The French international winger (5 caps) has experienced a period of scarcity after a great start to the season, but has just dropped two tries in his last three outings.
And of course, there is the eternal X factor, Damian Penaud, whose departure from UBB has just been announced.
The 26-year-old winger has signed up for the next three seasons in Gironde and will therefore leave his training club at the end of the season.
A difficult choice to swallow for Clermont supporters, but “
a weight that is lifted
” for the person concerned, as he admitted in the columns of
He thus hopes “ to be even more focused on [his] end of the season with ASM.
I want to end my adventure with Clermont in the best way,
My ambition is still intact.
“ Of this, he will have to provide proof from the clash against Stade Toulousain, a club in which his name had long been cited.
At the risk of suffering whistles falling from the stands.
The fans have been incredibly supportive during my eight years here.
The fervor is indescribable.
We will need them until the end of the season.
At Marcel-Michelin, it will be give and take.