Planet Rugby

Preview: Wasps v Stade Franšais

16th May 2014 15:33

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Stade Francais Paris South African fly half Morne Steyn

At 10 for Stade: Morne Steyn

London Wasps welcome back a number of players as they take on Stade Franšais in the first leg of the play-offs for next season's European Rugby Champions Cup.

The English host their French rivals at Adams Park on Sunday before travelling to Paris next weekend as they go in search of a place in Europe's top competition.

Wasps go into the two-legged qualification decider on the back of a 74-13 trashing at the hands against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens.

While Wasps boss Dai Young has admitted that result cannot brushed under the carpet he has urged his players to throw everything they have at the next two weekend.s

"The next fortnight is incredibly important for both Clubs, who will be equally as determined to finish on a high, with a place at Europe's top table for next season on offer," Young told the Wasps website .

"We only had 23 players fit to train before Northampton, but we hope to have the majority of players who had knocks, back this weekend, which was always the intention.

"Stade Franšais are a quality side. They are big and powerful right across the board, full of international stars and world renowned names. We've planned for every eventuality, but whatever team they put out, it will be quality from 1- 23.

"We will give Stade Franšais the respect they deserve and try to work our way through their strengths and weaknesses, but as normal, it will be up to us to impose our own game and play the game we want to play with ball in hand. We need to get our set piece right and obviously our defence has to step up. It's been a strong part of our game all season, so I don't expect it to be any different in these two games. We just need to make sure the bite and attitude is spot on."

"Defence normally gives an indication of the mindset of a team and that mindset wasn't right the last couple of games given the way we leaked tries. Certainly, up until those two games, our defence and attitude had been excellent, so we need to recapture that hunger and desire, and produce the work rate and attitude in defence to give ourselves a good chance."

Wasps have made twelve changes to last week's starting XV.

Andrea Masi starts at full-back, flanked by Will Helu and Tom Varndell on the wings. Elliot Daly starts outside captain Chris Bell in the centres, with Andy Goode and Joe Simpson forming the halfback pairing.

In the pack, Matt Mullan, Carlo Festuccia and Phil Swainston make up the front row, with Joe Launchbury and Tom Palmer partnering in the second row. Ashley Johnson and James Haskell are named to start on the flanks, with Nathan Hughes at number eight.

Stade Franšais have made three changes to the side that narrowly lost away to Toulon on the last day on the Top 14 regular season.

Both halfback have been changed ast Spingbok fly-half Morne Steyn and French international scrum-half Julien Dupuy replace Jules Plisson and Jerome Fillol respectively

Up front, Zak Taulafo replaces former South Afican prop Heinke Van der Merwe at loose head.

The teams:

London Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Will Helu, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Joe

Carlisle, 23 Charlie Hayter

Stade Franšais: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Waisea Vuidravuwalu, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Djibril Camara, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 David Lyons, 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Antoine Burban, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Olivier Panis, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Davit Kubrishvili, 19 Anton van Zyl, 20 Scott Lavalla, 21 Jerome Fillol, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Jeremy Sinzelle

Date: Sunday, MAy 18
Venue: Adams Park
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00GMT)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

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