European Champions Cup play-off: Wasps host Stade Francais at Adams Park in first leg
Last Updated: 17/05/14 2:49pm
London Wasps will host Stade Francais at Adams Park on Sunday in the first of a two-legged Anglo-French showdown for a place in next season's European Champions Cup.
Nine wins in the Aviva Premiership were enough to seal the capital side clinch seventh place in the English top flight, while Stade Francais needed 14 wins to claim the same position in the Top 14.
Both sides topped their respective groups in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Wasps winning all six matches, while Stade Francais were victorious in five.
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However, the newly introduced play-off offers both sides a shot at playing in Europe's premier competition next season.
Wasps enter the game on the back of an emphatic defeat to Northampton Saints, a game which saw them take a 13-0 lead before conceding 74 unanswered points.
"We were all incredibly disappointed, especially with the way we lacked fight when we went behind," director of rugby Dai Young admitted.
"That performance certainly won't be brushed under the carpet, but the detailed post-mortem must wait until after these two games.
"I think people will understand that we are not in a position where we can dwell on it too long. These two play-off games are huge for the club, the players and our supporters.
"There has been a lot of hurt around the camp, so it may be the ideal time to go into this game."
Young welcomes back a number of players into the match-day squad for the first leg of the play-off at Adams Park.
Andrea Masi takes the full-back jersey and will be 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 axis 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 and Ashley Johnson, James Haskell and Nathan Hughes team up in a formidable back row.
Stade Francais have made three changes to the side that narrowly lost away to Toulon on the last day on the Top 14 regular season.
Both half-backs have been changed as 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 African prop Heinke Van der Merwe at loose head.
Wasps: 15 Masi; 14 Helu, 13 Daly, 12 Bell (capt), 11 Varndell; 10 Goode, 9 Simpson; 1 Mullan, 2 Festuccia, 3 Swainston; 4 Launchbury, 5 Palmer; 6 Johnson, 7 Haskell, 8 Hughes.
Replacements: 16 Lindsay, 17 McIntyre, 18 Vea, 19 Myall, 20 Thompson, 21 Sheehan, 22 Carlisle, 23 Hayter.
Stade Français: 15 Bonneval; 14 Arias, 13 Vuidravuwalu, 12 Bosman, 11 Camara; 10 Steyn, 9 Dupuy; 1 Taulafo, 2 Sempere, 3 Slimani; 4 Flanquart, 5 Pape (capt); 6 Burban, 7 Nicolas, 8 Lyons.
Replacements: 16 Panis, 17 Van der Merwe, 18 Kubrishvili, 19 Van Zyl, 20 Lavalla, 21 Fillol, 22 Plisson, 23 Sinzelle.
You will be able to see the second leg of the play-off at Stade Jean Bouin live on Sky Sports on Saturday May 24.