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Sports

Noves backs Toulouse's chameleons in Clermont Euro quarter

  • "Clermont are unfortunately a team which has lost five Top 14 finals against Toulouse and which finds it tough to get through knock-out games.
09 Apr 2021

PARIS: A Toulouse team powered by France international halfbacks Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack are capable of outwitting rival French giants Clermont in a mouth-watering European Champions Cup quarter-final on Sunday, according to ex-coach Guy Noves.

Toulouse and Clermont are two of five Top 14 clubs in the Cup last-eight, with La Rochelle playing Sale on Saturday and Bordeaux-Begles taking on Racing 92 in a second all-French showdown.

Reigning champions Exeter host Leinster on Saturday to round out the fixtures.

Noves, a one-club player for Toulouse between 1975-88, went on to coach the side for 22 years, winning the French championship nine times and the European Cup four times.

"What's sure is that Toulouse can harbour great ambition, and why not win the European Cup?" Noves told AFP when asked about the French side's 40-33 victory at Munster last week.

Turning to Sunday's quarter-final, Noves downplayed any potential home advantage, saying playing in empty stadiums made for a level playing field.

"Clermont are unfortunately a team which has lost five Top 14 finals against Toulouse and which finds it tough to get through knock-out games.

"I see Toulouse winning it even if it won't be simple because Clermont remain a great team. Toulouse, however, have players capable of making a massive difference in knock-out stages."

Noves, who was sacked as France coach in December 2017 after just seven victories in 21 Tests, added: "Toulouse are like chameleons, capable of changing their skin come knock-out rounds."