| 4.8°C Dublin

Stringer's international exile staggers French star Yachvili

FRANCE and Biarritz scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili cannot understand why Peter Stringer is no longer wanted by Ireland.

The 98-times capped Stringer has fallen way down the scrum-half pecking order behind Conor Murray and Tomas O'Leary at Munster, as well as behind Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss with Ireland, and recently joined Saracens on a loan deal in search of game-time.

Yachvili, who started for France in their narrow World Cup final defeat to New Zealand, has been a huge admirer of Stringer for many years and remembers him scoring the crucial try in Munster's Heineken Cup final win over Biarritz in 2006.

Saracens and Biarritz clash in the Heineken Cup at Vicarage Road this weekend and Yachvili singled out his long-standing rival as a major threat.

"We will pay extra care and keep a close eye on Peter Stringer because we know all too well how dangerous he can be," he said.

"He has bounced back by joining Saracens -- and he's always been a very good player -- so I don't quite understand why he is no longer trusted in the Ireland national squad."

Stringer has shown good form since joining the London club who, like Munster and Leinster, can secure their place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup if they win this weekend.

Biarritz won the corresponding fixture 15-10 in France earlier in the season but Yachvili -- who is three points short of becoming only the fourth player to notch up 600 Heineken Cup points -- acknowledges that the pressure is on his side this Sunday.

"Sunday's match against Saracens will definitely be a decider because it will determine our future in the Heineken Cup this season," he said.

"It will be a tough game, facing a Saracens team in top form at the moment and very strong in all competitions and a massive challenge awaits us."

Irish Independent