France's Stade Français travel to Ireland Friday to face off against Leinster for the Amlin Challenge Cup final. FRANCE 24's Marc Owen takes a closer look at the two teams' star players.
David versus Goliath, Beauty and the Beast, Daniel in the Lion's Den - all of these could fittingly describe the upcoming match between Stade Français and Leinster in the Amlin Challenge Cup final on Friday.
Let's use the biblical allusion: Daniel in the Lion's den.
Stade Francais are overwhelmingly the underdogs, while Leinster are reigning European champions.
And the game is also being played at Leinster’s home ground – this is a quirk of the system where the venue for the final is selected months in advance.
So, the Parisian club – who were also-rans in their own domestic league this season – arrive in Dublin hoping that the “luck of the Irish” will rub off on them.
Yes, Leinster have some formidable players.
However, in a major blow, one-time Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll – known to Irish fans as BOD, who chant “in BOD We Trust” - one of the most feared competitors in world rugby, will miss the final on Friday due to a back injury.
However, Jonathan Sexton – number 10, goal kicker, just recruited by French club Racing Metro for next season on a monthly salary in excess of 50,000 euros - will appear.
Stade Francais have Sergio Parisse – arguably the best number 8 in world rugby. And a promising group of young players, like Jules Plisson at 10, and Hugo Bonneval at 15.
So the Amlin Challenge, or “Le Challenge Européen”: for the Irish club it could be a consolation prize, for the Parisians it could be the highlight of the season.
Date created : 2013-05-17