Clerc's 16 tries last season confirmed his position as one of French rugby's most exciting young talents. But after earning 10 caps for the national team he was surprisingly dumped ahead of the World Cup, with Laporte opting for more versatile players.
That disappointment is still all too fresh in Clerc's mind.
"Bernard Laporte had said that he would phone those who would not go," he said. "When I heard the phone ring and saw a Parisian number coming up on the screen, I understood. It broke my heart.
"Of course I had thought I maybe would not go, but I truly had a good feeling I would. I really could see myself experiencing such an adventure."
Instead of suffering a lack of confidence after that disappointment, Clerc has continued to shine for Toulouse.
And the youngster insists he could have no bigger incentive to perform for Toulouse than the chance to win back his place for Les Bleus.
"Of course I want to play for the national team again," he told L'Equipe. "This is a priority objective for me. The French team will come to me naturally if I keep playing well with my club."