Hayman determined to win historic third Euro title

Former All Black Carl Hayman says that he is determined to add to his “amazing” stint with Toulon by leading the side to an unprecedented third successive European title when they face French rivals Clermont in Saturday’s Champions Cup final at Twickenham.

No side has won three straight European titles, with New Zealand’s Crusaders, who won three successive Super Rugby crowns from 1998-2000, the only club to have completed a comparable feat.

Saturday’s match has an extra edge as club captain Hayman, capped 45 times by the All Blacks from 2001-2007, is one of several Toulon players, along with former Test locks Ali Williams (New Zealand) and Bakkies Botha (South Africa), who is retiring at the end of the season.

“It always means a lot,” the 35-year-old Hayman told a Twickenham news conference on Friday.

“This is why we are here, this is why we train to get to this stage and make a final and to have the chance of winning.”

Hayman added: “There are a lot of guys leaving at the end of this year but that is not going to win us the match.

“Being concentrated on our performance is going to go a long way to seeing us to victory tomorrow (Saturday).

“It would mean a lot but I try not to think about that too much.”

As for matching the Crusaders’ treble, Hayman said: “If we are able to win a third (European) title on Saturday, I’m sure this team will go down as one of the greats.

“Toulon have had a core of guys who’ve been together for a good amount of time now, so I guess you could draw similarities with the Crusaders who had that great run a while ago.”

Asked about his time in France, Hayman, who made his name at the Highlanders before joining English Premiership side Newcastle after the 2007 World Cup, said: “It’s been an amazing experience for me.

“It’s been five years now since I’ve moved to Toulon and in that time I’ve experienced a lot on the rugby field and also a lot off the rugby field, learning a new language, meeting new people, experiencing a culture that’s a bit different to ours in New Zealand — it’s been an amazing experience and sadly it’s going to come to an end, but that’s life.

“It’s been amazing, some of the memories I’ve had with this team, memories that are going to stay with me for life,” the tighthead prop added.

Last 10 winners
2014 Toulon (FRA)
2013 Toulon (FRA)
2012 Leinster (IRL)
2011 Leinster (IRL)
2010 Toulouse (FRA)
2009 Leinster (IRL)
2008 Munster (IRL)
2007 Wasps (ENG)
2006 Munster (IRL)
2005 Toulouse (FRA)

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