Preview: Stade Français v Munster

Date published: January 8 2016

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Gonzalo Quesada has made nine changes to his Stade Français side for the Champions Cup visit of Munster this weekend.

Hugo Bonneval and Paul Williams, the two try scorers from last Sunday's win over Toulouse, are the only two survivors in the backline as Julien Arias, Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, Josaia Raisuqe, Morné Steyn and Julien Dupuy all come back into the side.

Steyn and Dupuy replace Jules Plisson and Will Genia respectively.

In the back row Sylvain Nicolas and Sekou Macalou join Sergio Parisse, with Paul Gabrillagues taking the place of Pascal Papé.

Stade's final change sees Heinke van der Merwe come in at loosehead prop for Zak Taulafo.

Meanwhile, for Munster six changes are made from the side that defeated Ulster last weekend.

In a boost to the squad, Dave Foley, Keith Earls, Conor Murray and Andrew Conway have all overcome their respective knocks to take their place in the starting XV.

In an unchanged front row Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry and BJ Botha all remain in situ while in the second row Foley resumes his partnership with Mark Chisholm. The final change in the pack sees Robin Copeland come back in to join Tommy O'Donnell and captain CJ Stander in the back row with O'Donnell making his first European appearance of the season.

Murray re-joins Ian Keatley in the half-backs with Simon Zebo and Earls returning to the left and right wings respectively, while Rory Scannell and Francis Saili again form the midfield pairing. The final change sees Conway take charge at full-back.

Form: This will be the fifth match between Stade Français and Munster in the European Cup, with Munster winning on three of the previous four occasions. Saturday's game will be the first time the two have played each other in the pool stage having clashed three times in the quarter-finals and once in the semis. The most recent three games between the two were all settled by margins of five points or fewer, although the sides have not met since April 2004. Stade have won 36 of 38 home games in the European Cup, and one of those defeats was against Munster in the 2002 quarter-final at Stade Jean Bouin. The French side haven't conceded 20 points in any of their last 14 home games in the tournament. Munster are on the verge of losing three consecutive pool games in successive seasons for the first time in their illustrious European history. 

The teams:

Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, 12 Paul Williams, 11 Josaia Raisuqe, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo Emile, 2 Laurent Sempéré, 1 Zak Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Laurent Panis, 17 Heinke Van der Merwe, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Gerhard Mostert, 20 Jonathan Ross, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Jonathan Danty

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Robin Copeland, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne 
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 John Ryan, 18 Mario Sagario, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Jack O'Donoghue, 21 Tomás O'Leary, 22 Denis Hurley, 23 Ronan O'Mahony

Date: Saturday, January 9
Venue: Stade Jean Bouin
Kick-off: 17:45 local (16:45 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Leighton Hodges (Wales), Sean Brickell (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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