Stade injuries a boost to Reds ahead of vital clash
Published 08/01/2016 | 02:30
Stade Francais look set to be without a host of key personnel for the visit of Munster tomorrow night, with Pascal Papé and Will Genia struggling for fitness.
The French champions have struggled for form in the Top 14 this season, but lead the Reds by five points with three games remaining in Pool D of the Champions Cup, and victory at Stade Jean Bouin would end the Irish province's interest in the competition.
Anthony Foley looks set to restore Conor Murray, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway to his starting XV after his side's morale-boosting victory over Ulster, but his opposite number Gonzalo Quesada is dealing with a host of injuries ahead of the vital fixture.
Papé, the villain of the piece in Ireland's World Cup win over France, has a stomach bug, while Genia is struggling with a knee injury.
Quesada remains hopeful the Wallaby scrum-half and centre Jonathan Danty (shoulder) can recover in time to be named in his side today.
The Argentinian coach is definitely without back-rows Raphael Lakafia and Anthony Burban and backs Djibril Camara and Jeremy Sinzelle.
Stade skipper Sergio Parisse is expecting a hungry Munster side to pitch up in Paris.
"We know we still have every chance," he said. "Munster lost both match-ups against Leicester in Ireland and England.
"They have a small chance to qualify through a victory here against us. We know they will come to Paris with the intention of winning.
"We must be aware that this will be a very complicated game. I think it will be a lot of pace. Munster have a habit of winning in this competition for years.
"Munster dominated European rugby for several years. Maybe the last two-three years, they are less successful in the European Cup, they haven't reached the final.
"But they are a well-structured team that bases its game on a good contest. If they have to 10,000 'pick and goes' before releasing a ball they will. This is a pragmatic team with a very good scrum -half in Conor Murray.
"They have good individuals, many of their team play for Ireland. It really is a very good team. I do not know, however, what state of mind they are in and what they will offer."
Meanwhile, England wing Jonny May will not play again this season after undergoing knee surgery.
May's club Gloucester said that he was operated on following a ligament injury suffered during the Aviva Premiership game against Harlequins at Twickenham on Sunday, December 27.