Planet Rugby

Preview: Leinster v Stade Français

16th May 2013 13:21

Share:

sergio parisse jamie heaslip

Captain: Jamie Heaslip

Stade Français travel to Dublin with the unenviable task of overturning Leinster at the RDS on Friday in the Challenge Cup final.

Follow live commentary of the Challenge Cup Final here.

Leinster hold most of the cards here. At home in Dublin in front of a sell-out crowd, the support ultimately is only going to flow one way.

Brian O'Driscoll will be absent but Leinster are more than able to fill the void left in the 13 shirt, Fergus McFadden moving infield to partner the exciting Ian Madigan.

Against Biarritz in the semi-final they rose to another level - running in five tries and reproducing the quality that has taken them to three Heineken Cup titles in four years.

Adding another trophy to the cabinet would be the perfect way to send off coach Joe Schmidt and fan favourite Isa Nacewa.

Jonathan Sexton will be another departure at the end of the season, but first these are the sort of big games where Lions coach Warren Gatland wants him to excel.

With vast experience of not just participating in but winning European finals, the home side are rightly favourites.

The French opposition meanwhile earned their spot thanks to a thrilling semi-final victory over Perpignan away from home, the boot of former USAP star Jérôme Porical landing the all-important penalty to seal the win.

Stade have been here before, losing out to Harlequins for the title in 2011.

That time it was Stade on the end of a bitter defeat, Gonzalo Camacho's late score in the 76th minute opening a wound.

Sergio Parisse led Stade that night in Cardiff and is fully aware of the threat Leinster pose, whilst also recalling on the experience of Italy's victory over Ireland in the Six Nations.

"They have got fewer weaknesses than most teams," said Parisse.

"But I lived a beautiful experience this winter with Italy against Ireland when we were not favourites and we won that Six Nations match.

"It would be wonderful to win the trophy and I just hope those who play in the final earn a lot of experience from the occasion."

Jules Plisson and Julien Dupuy will pull the strings and Parisse will inspire a pack that has talent in the likes of Aled De Malmanche and Gerhard Mostert, but Stade need Porical to nail every chance available with the boot. The match-winner in the semi-final could do the same on the biggest stage.

Players to watch:

For Leinster: Ian Madigan's late-season form has been so impressive, that many whispered that he should have travelled with the Lions. The heir to Sexton's throne at fly-half, Madigan can become a star.

For Stade Français: Hard to look past the presence of Sergio Parisse. Regarded by many as the world's best number eight, a fantastic season for Italy in the Six Nations could be capped by title success with Stade and avenge those ghosts from 2011.

Head-to-Head: A focus on the front row has Lions reject Mike Ross coming up against former Chiefs front-rower Aled de Malmanche. Whoever struggles will hand the boots of Sexton and Porical multiple chances.

Prediction: The noise of the RDS and Leinster's track record makes them clear favourites here, although Stade could provide a sting. Leinster by 7.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 John Cooney, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 David Kearney.

Stade Français: 15 Jerome Porical, 14 Jérémy Sinzelle, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Paul Williams, 11 Hugo Bonneval, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse , 7 Pierre Rabadan, 6 David Lyons, 5 Scott Lavalla, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Aled de Malmanche.
Replacements: 16 Remi Bonfils, 17 Stanley Wright, 18 Jérémy Becasseau, 19 Anton van Zyl, 20 Lei Tomiki, 21 Waisea Nayacalevu, 22 Julien Arias, 23 Paul Warwick.

Date: Friday, May 17
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Venue: RDS, Dublin
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal)
Assistant referees: Leighton Hodges (Wal), Ian Davies (Wal)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wal)
Citing Commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (Ita)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26