Clermont Auvergne flyhalf Brock James has admitted the French side have placed an emphasis on the Heineken Cup this season and it paid off on Sunday, as they beat Saracens 22-3 to reach their first semifinal.
Clermont dominated proceedings at Vicarage Road to claim and impressive victory over the English champions to set up a mouthwatering last four tie against Leinster.
James, a third minute replacement for the injured David Skrela impressed in the pivotal flyhalf role and he was delighted to drive his side into the semifinals.
"We have talked about the Heineken Cup a little bit more than we normally do," said James.
"We have decided as a group it is something we want to achieve this season. We have taken the next step to the semi-final and we have a difficult match to come against Leinster, but we will prepare as well as we can for that.
"We have had a good defence in the Top 14 and it something we have really prided ourselves on this season. We showed that when we didn't allow them over for a try when they were on our line in the last five minutes.
"With the wet conditions, we knew territory would be important, especially with their fast defence which makes it to play with the ball in hand, we thought we could put some pressure there.
"We needed to put some pressure on them and it was important that the point came and we just needed to be down their end of the field to make that happen. We couldn't give them a chance to play.
"Leinster won the competition last year and they beat us a few years ago and have had a good victory in the semi-final but we have put more importance in the Heineken Cup this season. We are keen to get stuck into them."
European Cup semifinals:
Saturday, April 28:
Ulster v Edinburgh
(Aviva Stadium, Dublin - Kick-off: 17.45; 16.45 GMT)
Sunday, April 29
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster
(Stade Chaban Delmas, Bordeaux - Kick-off: 16.00; 15.00 GMT)
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