Preview: Stade Français v Clermont

Date published: April 29 2011

Stade Français host Clermont in Paris on Friday in the first of the weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Stade Français host Clermont in Paris on Friday in the first of the weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals.

It's a make-or-break fixture for the Parisians, who are attempting to save their season after missing out on Heineken Cup qualification in the Top 14.

A miserable domestic season – they lie tenth – has left Stade with only the Challenge Cup as their only route into Europe's top flight next season.

The hosts are unbeaten in the tournament this season and beat Montpellier in quarter-final earlier this month.

Stade's last experience in the semi-final stage of the Amlin Challenge Cup came in 1998 when they lost to Colomiers at the Stade Selery.

For Clermont, it's completely different story as they must travel to Toulouse next weekend as part of their French title defence.

Clermont are in search of their third Amlin Challenge Cup title after success in 1999 and 2007 and will go into the match full of confidence following their recent 20- 12 victory over the Parisians at the Stade de France in the Top 14.

Clermont reached the knock-out stage after finishing as runners-up to Leinster in Pool 2 of the Heineken Cup and comfortably beat La Rochelle in the last eight match earlier this month.

In team news, Clermont are missing first-choice fly-half Brock James as well as his understudy Tasesa Lavea. As a result, South African utility back Brent Russell will wear the number ten jersey.

Julien Malzieu is also injured meaning Wesley Fofana lines up on the right wing.

For Stade Français, all the big guns are present. Mathieu Bastareaud has recovered from a foot injury and starts at outside centre and while Sergio Parisse will lead the side at number eight.

The teams:

Stade Français Paris: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Gonzalo Tiesi, 11 Guillaume Bousses, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Antoine Burban, 6 James Haskell, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 David Attoub, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Remi Bonfils, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Damien Weber, 19 Arnaud Marchois, 20 Pierre Rabadan, 21 Juan Leguizamon, 22 Noel Oelschig, 23 Ollie Phillips.

ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Tusiata Pisi, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Brent Russell, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Jamie Cudmore, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Vincent Debaty,
Replacements: 16 Mario Ledesma, 17 Lionel Faure, 18 Martin Scelzo, 19 Alexandre Audebert, 20 Sione Lauaki, 21 Kevin Senio, 22 Gonzalo Canale, 23 Anthony Floch,

Date: Friday, April 29
Venue: Stade Charlety, Paris
Kick-off: 20.45 (19.45 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens