Harinordoquy hails Toulouse
Biarritz star praises quality of Heineken Cup final opponents
Last Updated: 17/05/10 10:27am
Harinordoquy: Eying upset
Biarritz No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy admits that his side are underdogs for the Heineken Cup final clash with Toulouse.
"In terms of squad, structure and results Toulouse are certainly the number one club in France - and probably Europe as well."
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The two sides will face-off on Saturday as France prepares to crown its first winner in the competition since 2005.
Although Toulouse recently fell out of contention for the domestic title, the 2008 finalists have been impressive during the knock-out stages in Europe, claiming the scalps of Stade Francais and defending champions Leinster.
Harinordoquy says that although he believes Toulouse are the best side in France, he is confident Biarritz have what it takes to come out on top in the one-off contest.
"Toulouse are a model of consistency," the France international said.
"In terms of squad, structure and results Toulouse are certainly the number one club in France - and probably Europe as well.
"I compare them slightly to the All Blacks, especially when you see their three-quarter play and how fast they react on the counter-attack.
"On paper they are the favourites, and they are a team that we don't often beat, but I believe we can beat them
"And I am like most children - I always want what I don't have. It's so hard to get to a Heineken Cup final and winning it would be so dear to me.
"But not just for me of course, but also for the club's history and for all our supporters.
"We experienced the joy of winning the French Championship in 2005 and 2006 and we really want to share that feeling again with all the Biarritz fans."
The Basque outfit last reached the Heineken Cup final four years ago, when they were beaten 23-19 by Munster.
Harinordoquy concedes Biarritz froze on the big stage on that occasion and insists they will be better prepared this time round.
He added: "The 2006 Heineken Cup is a very bitter memory. I didn't even want the runners-up medal.
"What drove me mad was the feeling that we were not ready for the event.
"The Millennium Stadium was heaving with 40-50,000 Irish supporters and I think our players went to pieces.
"This time we won't make the same mistakes."