Clermont v Saracens: We are not after revenge, say French club

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
Saracens v Clermont, Chris Ashton
England winger Chris Ashton scored two tries in Saracens' 46-6 Heineken Cup win over Clermont last season
European Rugby Champions Cup
Venue:Allianz ParkDate:18 OctoberKick-off:15:15 BSTCoverage:Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, live text commentary and score updates on the BBC Sport website and on BBC local radio

Clermont Auvergne will not be motivated by revenge when they face Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Saturday's fixture at Allianz Park is a repeat of last season's Heineken Cup semi-final at Twickenham, which Saracens won in convincing fashion.

"We cannot speak about revenge," Clermont's sporting director Jean-Marc Lhermet told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It is not the same team. We have had lots of changes, with the coach and eight or nine new players."

With Vern Cotter leaving to take charge of Scotland at the end of last season, Frank Azema has stepped up to the role of head coach, while Wales' Jonathan Davies is one of a handful of new arrivals at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

"It is the same teams [on Saturday] but a new game in new conditions," Lhermet continued.

"It is much more difficult [this season] because we have Munster and Saracens and Sale in our pool, and I think only one of those teams will qualify for the quarter-finals.

"It is a difficult challenge but it is very exciting. In Clermont-Ferrand we love this competition. We would like to first qualify for the quarter-finals and then after that everything is possible."

Wales' Jonathan Davies
Jonathan Davies left Scarlets at the end of last season, having signed a two-year deal at Clermont in 2013

And Lhermet is confident Davies will prove to be a big success with the Vulcans, despite a slow start to his spell because of a foot injury picked up on Wales duty in the summer.

"When he arrived in August he was injured, and it was difficult for him to play at the beginning because he was a little bit late in his preparations," added Lhermet.

"But he is a fantastic player, a fantastic man, and he will quickly be a big part of this team."

Listen to 5 live Rugby on Thursday from 19:30 BST for more on the first weekend of the European Rugby Champions Cup. Former Bath and England prop David Flatman and Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards are among the studio guests, and you will also hear from Bernard Laporte, George North and the Bath head coach Mike Ford. If you miss the show you can download the podcast here.