Pierre Mignoni was at the heart of France winning the 2007 Six Nations title – and now the livewire scrum half has set his heart on helping ASM Clermont Auvergne winning the European Challenge Cup for a second time.
The French club face Newcastle Falcons at Parc des Sports Marcel-Michelin on Friday night in the opening quarter-final with Mignoni adamant they are determined to add another European Challenge Cup title to the one they won in 1999 by beating Bourgoin 35-16 in Lyon in front of a tournament record crowd of 31,986.
“The European challenge Cup is a competition which has become important to us, the home quarter-final is great and we are definitely looking to try and win this competition, to become a big player in European rugby,” said Mignoni, a survivor from the 2004 team pipped 27-26 by NEC Harlequins in a thrilling final at the Madejski Stadium.
“We want silverware and if it is European, so much the better!
“Even if the Championship is still a major aim for us – we have been in six Top 14 finals and never won – we are playing to win in Europe.
“We have had the luck to get a home quarter-final and, if all goes well and we get to play a semi-final at home, it opens the door to the final that little bit wider in a competition which we need to win.
“I think we need to start putting our money where our mouth is and start winning titles.
“Newcastle are not in that good a position in their domestic league but they have a very strong back line and a great deal of potential.
“I think we will be able to put in a big performance and keep the ball away from their back line. But this remains an all-or-nothing match and we need to be serious, rigorous and well-prepared.
“The European Challenge Cup weekends have been great for the club, all the players have had a chance to get some time on the pitch, and that has been a real positive for us and now we’re at the next important hurdle.
“I’m really pleased to be back playing with my club after the Six Nations. I was impatient for the game against Narbonne at the weekend and now I’m looking forward to the Challenge Cup clash with Newcastle.
“I got a good rest before the Scotland game so I feel physically relaxed and ready to play.”