Nearly 4,000 fans turned out to welcome home ASM Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel-Michelin, after they had won the European Rugby Challenge Cup for a third time last Friday in Newcastle.

The Yellow Army were duly praised by Clermont president Eric de Cromières, who told them: “That we have been able to crown this season with this title is thanks to you, the supporters.”

He was joined in his praise for the fans by second row Paul Jedrasiak, who added: “It’s huge that they made the effort to come. That’s what drives us on and made us go far [in the competition] – and why we succeeded in this challenge.”

No.8 Damien Chouly described Clermont’s 36-16 triumph at St James’ Park – which equalled Harlequins’ record of three Challenge Cup titles – as “a great reward” for the club’s season.

“The European campaign has been long and many players have been able to participate in it,” he said. “We have been able to rotate the squad. It was an opportunity and a breath of fresh air.”

Fly-half Camille Lopez added: “We promised that we would do something. We have realised our first objective. It is to our credit that we have been able to win a title and that we have been able to share it with our marvellous supporters.”

Clermont will now aim to complete a domestic and European double by winning the TOP 14, where they are currently placed second with two games of the regular season remaining.