Sunday 17 December 2017

Stade class to spoil O'Shea's big night

Hugh Farrelly

After conquering Munster in the semi-final at Thomond Park, Conor O'Shea will believe his Harlequins side have what it takes to claim the Challenge Cup in Cardiff City Stadium tonight (7.45).

However, although Michael Cheika's Stade Francais have had a tough season, this represents the French giants' only route into next season's Heineken Cup and they are unlikely to leave anything behind them.

Harlequins have the same Heineken Cup incentive, but not the all-round quality of the Parisians, who bring an array of game-breakers to Cardiff in the likes of Julien Dupuy, Mathieu Bastareaud, James Haskell and ERC Player of the Year nominee Sergio Parisse.

It should be close, but Cheika has enough in his arsenal to sneak home.

Verdict: Stade Francais

HARLEQUINS -- M Brown; G Camacho, G Lowe, J Turner-Hall, U Monye; N Evans, D Care; J Marler, J Gray, J Johnston; O Kohn, G Robson; M Fa'asavalu, C Robshaw (capt), N Easter. Reps: M Cairs, C Jones, M Lambert, P Browne, W Skinner, D Moore, R Clegg, R Chisholm.

STADE FRANCAIS -- M Rodriguez; J Arias, M Bastareaud, G Bousses, D Camara; L Beauxis, J Dupuy; R Roncero, R Bonfils, D Attoub; T Palmer, P Pape; J Haskell, A Burban, S Parisse (capt). Reps: D Weber, R Gerber, A Joly, A Marchois, P Rabadan, J Leguizamon, N Oelschig, O Phillips.

REF -- G Clancy (Ireland).

Harlequins v Stade Francais,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 7.45

Irish Independent

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