Friday 14 December 2018

Bumper Bordeaux semi-final weekend beckons

Scarlets’ Tadhg Beirne. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Scarlets’ Tadhg Beirne. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie newsdesk

Bordeaux could host a double-header of European Champions Cup semi-finals involving Irish provinces next month if results this weekend go a certain way.

Munster and Leinster can book their places in the last four with victories over Toulon and Saracens and cannot meet until the final in Bilbao on May 12.

The Reds will definitely be off to France if they can beat the three-time champions at Thomond Park tomorrow, facing either Clermont in Saint-Etienne or Racing 92 in Bordeaux.

Leinster could also be in Bordeaux if they beat Saracens on Sunday and La Rochelle overcome Scarlets in Wales tonight, but their preferred option is a Dublin clash against the Guinness PRO14 champions.

The Aviva Stadium would host that semi-final if it came to pass, setting up a repeat of the PRO14 semi-final last season. Visiting the Irish capital would hold no fears for the Welsh side who won in the city on successive weekends last year.

They will welcome a La Rochelle side shorn of two All Blacks in Victor Vito and Jason Eaton as well as France centre Geoffrey Doumayrou.

Kildare native Tadhg Beirne starts in the Scarlets second-row as Wayne Pivac welcomes Wales internationals Leigh Halfpenny, Hadleigh Parkes, Gareth Davies, Rob Evans and Ken Owens, as well as Scotland captain John Barlay, back to the side for the eagerly-anticipated Parc y Scarlets clash.

SCARLETS - L Halfpenny; P Asquith, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans; R Patchell, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens (capt), S Lee; T Beirne, D Bulbring; A Shingler, J Davies, J Barclay. Reps: R Elias, D Evans, W Kruger, L Rawlins, W Boyde, A Davies, D Jones, J MacLeod.

LA ROCHELLE - C Bouldoire; V Rattez, A Retiere, P Aguillon S Barry; J Sinzelle, A Bales; D Priso, P Bourgarit, U Atonio; R Sazy (capt), M Tanguy; B Veivuke, Z Kieft, A Amosa. Reps: H Forbes, K Tufele, M Boughanmi, G Lamboley, K Gourdon, T Kerr Barlow, B Noble, P Boudehent.

Scarlets v La Rochelle, 5.30; BT Sport;

Potential Champions Cup semi-finals - 21/22 April

If Leinster v Scarlets - Aviva Stadium, Dublin;

If Saracens v Scarlets - Ricoh Arena, Coventry;

If La Rochelle v Leinster - Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux;

If La Rochelle v Saracens - Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux;

If Clermont Auvergne v Munster - Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Ettienne;

If Racing 92 v Munster - Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux;

If Toulon v Clermont Auvergne - Alllianz Stadium, Nice;

If Toulon v Racing 92 - Allianz Stadium, Nice;

2018 Champions Cup final: Saturday, 12 May; Bilbao

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