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Perpignan Have Unfinished Business.

Perpignan Have Unfinished Business.

Perpignan have put their name up in European club rugby lights, their win against Llanelli in Stradey Park marking them down as serious contenders

Perpignan have put their name up in European club rugby lights, their win against Llanelli in Stradey Park marking them down as serious contenders – if earlier victories over Gloucester and Munster hadn’t already done that.

The Catalan club travel to Lansdowne Road for their semi-final match against Leinster Lions on Sunday, 27 April, declaring they have unfinished business to attend to.

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“It is fantastic for the club to be one of the top four clubs in Europe in 2003,” said hooker Michel Konieckiewicz.
“We tend to be the forgotten team of France so winning our group and beating the likes of Gloucester, who were top of the English league at the time, then getting through to the semi-finals after beating Llanelli in their own backyard has made everyone sit up and notice our club and our Catalan region.

“Hopefully we will go further – our objective now is to get to the final, but it’s going to be very tough at Lansdowne Road.”

Scrum half Ludovic Loustau added: “It was important to get an away win in the Heineken Cup – that was something we hadn’t achieved, at least not in the knock-out stages of the competition.

“It’s good for everyone – it gets the club known and the fact that we are still in the chase for two competitions means that as a team we can still aim to win something.

“I would prefer it if the grounds were truly neutral – Leinster get to play all their knock-out matches at Lansdowne Road – and it’s a little bit as if the dice are already thrown.

“However, we will try to do well to honour our region, just as we did at Llanelli, although I’m sure it’s going to be even more difficult.”

And lock Jerome Thion believes their win at Stradey Park in the quarter-finals proves they are genuine cup contenders.
“Everyone said how difficult our Pool was and to have come away from Llanelli with a win – something no other club has done – gives us a huge amount of satisfaction,” he said.
“Usually if you play at Lansdowne Road, it would be with the French team so it’s huge to be able to play there for your club. We are going there to get a result but we will really have to dig deep to come away from there with a victory. However, we would love to get to a final this season.”

Coach Olivier Saisset added: “Last year we didn’t have the means to compete on two fronts but this team is more balanced, which has enabled us to get this far.

“Leinster are practically the Irish team – they put Biarritz in all sorts of difficulties and should have scored a lot more points had they not missed a couple of opportunities. It certainly won’t be simple over there.
“We made a huge step in qualifying for the quarter-finals and we did something big in winning at Llanelli. At Lansdowne Road we will have a 30% chance but we will take that chance, just as we did last week.
“What is true is that if we have the opportunity to win, we won’t let it slip away.