Lyon assistant coach Olivier Azam admits qualification for the knockout phase of the European Challenge Cup is not a priority for his relegation-threatened Top 14 side as they prepare to host Edinburgh tomorrow.
While he is desperate to post a win to please the Lyon supporters and build momentum for the upcoming battle on the domestic front, Azam sees the match as an opportunity for his men to stake their case for a place in the side when it comes to the club’s main priority – surviving in the Top 14.
The former international hooker, who took over responsibility for the Lyon forwards from former Edinburgh assistant Tom Smith at the start of last season, said: “It’s a chance for certain players to show to the staff what they are made of. This competition from the start has served as a chance for the younger players. It has been a chance for them to show that the hard work is paying off and it has given us a chance to analyse how much they have progressed. It also offers a chance to some of the first-team squad to have game time and to demonstrate that they are capable of performing at that level.”
With hopes of progressing to the knockout phase of the competition in the balance for Lyon, Azam’s focus tomorrow will be on the performance.
“Qualification is still possible mathematically but, for us, the main thing is to produce a big performance. We went to put on a good show for our public, to win and to make them happy,” he said.