Parra proud of Clermont triumph: No one ever gave up

Morgan Parra hailed Clermont Auvergne's long-awaited victory following "years of struggle" after his team gained revenge against Toulon to win the Top 14 final on Sunday.

Clermont have suffered regular heartache on the big stage, losing 11 of their prior 12 appearances in the French league decider, as well as European Champions Cup final defeats to Toulon in 2013 and 2015 and against Saracens last month.

They finally broke that unhappy streak in Paris, where Alivereti Raka crossed for an early try and France international scrum-half Parra kicked 17 crucial points to get his team over the line.

"I'm proud, we've had some years of struggle but I'm proud of everyone - the players, the fans, no-one ever gave up," he was quoted as saying to France Televisions.

Clermont coach Franck Azema said: "This team deserves it. On that last [Toulon] lineout, honestly, we thought we'd lose out again.

"It was really tough but so good and intense that you quickly forget it."

Following those earlier triumphs over Clermont on the big stage, it has been Toulon's turn to experience the bitter sting of defeat at the final hurdle, having also gone down 29-21 to Racing 92 in the 2016 Top 14 final.

Skipper Guilhem Guirado said: "Two years in a row where we come up short at the same stage - European Cup quarter-finals and league final, it's tough to swallow. We're going to have to pick ourselves up."

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