Clermont

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Donegal captain Michael Murphy is temporarily swapping Gaelic football for rugby with Top 14 team Clermont Auvergne as part of The Toughest Trade. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile.

Michael Murphy was a teenager in 2005 when Tana Umaga, Conrad Smith and the late Jerry Collins visited Letterkenny RFC to pay homage to the original A(...)

 Jack Carty celebrates the  winning  conversion with his team-mates after Connacht’s last-gasp victory over Wasps at the Sportsground. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

In stark contrast to this point last season when only Ulster still harboured hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the European Champions Cup, al(...)

Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton is tackled by Munster’s Rory Scannell at the Aviva Stadium earlier this month. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Time was when nothing whetted the appetite quite like the return of what we knew and loved as the Heineken Cup. In its stead, the European Champions(...)

Saracens’ ‘prize’ for beating the top seeds away in last season’s quarter-final was a semi-final  at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in St Etienne against Clermont. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

The semi-final draw is no longer part of rugby’s European Cup. Even with the traditional quirks of the competition – the minnows; the back to back fix(...)

Clermont Auvergne training at Twickenham ahead of their European Champions Cup final against Toulon. They are hoping for their first European Cup victory. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Ultimately, the rugby won out, or at any rate the occasions did. The semi-finals may have been taut arm wrestles, but the sight of the Clermont player(...)

Connacht’s Denis Buckley tries to get away from Ulster’s Callum Black. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Much debate abounds regarding our provinces, especially with two French sides in tomorrow’s European Rugby Champions Cup final. Watching the Aviva (...)

A previous all-French final between Toulouse and Perpignan at Lansdowne Road in 2003 attracted a crowd of less than 30,000. Photograph: Getty Images

Due to very real concerns that there will be vast swathes of empty seats at the 82,000-capacity Twickenham Stadium for this weekend’s European Cham(...)

Owen Farrell of Saracens is hauled down by Julien Bardy of Clermont during the Champions Cup Pool 1 match at Stade Marcel Michelin yesterday. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Owen Farrell gave Stuart Lancaster an injury scare on the eve of England’s Six Nations get-together as he hobbled off in the first half of Saracens’ d(...)

Munster’s Ian Keatley passes the ball as Saracens’ Owen Farrell moves in. The two sides meet again this weekend in the European Champions Cup. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

If it’s January in Europe then Munster have to be fighting for their lives. However, even by their standards, Munster are in a particularly tricky pic(...)

“You need to say the right things. You don’t need to get too carried away, we’re all hurting. Nobody wanted to lose at home last Saturday,” says Munster coach Anthony Foley of his side’s loss to Clermont Auvergne at Thomond Park. Photograph: Getty

Munster coach Anthony Foley knows that to sustain the province’s European Champions Cup campaign through to 2015 with more substance than an abstra(...)

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