Clermont suffer double blow as Rougerie and Vosloo both ruled out through injury
Captain’s absence could be keenly felt by Vern Cotter’s side
Aurelien Rougerie will miss the showdown with Munster due to a torn hamstring. Photograph: Getty Images
Clermont have been hit with a double injury blow on the eve of their Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Munster following news that captain and centre Aurelien Rougerie, along with their French-qualified South African-born flanker Gerhard Vosloo, have both been ruled out of the game.
The two players both suffered hamstring injuries in the record-equalling 59th home win in a row at their Stade Marcel Michelin fortress last week against Toulouse, with Rougerie jogging off after 20 minutes.
Clermont’s hugely influential club captain Rougerie may now struggle to play again this season – thus missing out on their knock-out assault on both Europe and the Top 14 – after scans revealed he had suffered a torn rather than strained hamstring.
The Clermont squad arrived in Montpellier yesterday, but it’s believed Vosloo did not travel with them. His injury-enforced absence for the run-in to last season’s campaign – when Clermont lost in the semi-finals of both the Heineken Cup and Top 14 – has oft been cited as a key factor by coach Vern Cotter, such is the huge physicality the flanker offers.
This double whammy is partially offset by the anticipated return of Australian outhalf Brock James for his first outing in five weeks. David Skrela is battling his troublesome Achilles tendon problems and hopes to take his place on the bench.
Former All Black Regan King will step in for Rougerie while Vosloo’s likeliest replacement in the back-row is Portuguese international Julien Bardy.
CLERMONT (probable): Byrne; Sivivatu, King, Fofana, Nalaga; James, Parra; Domingo, Kayser, Zirakashvili, Cudmore, Hines, Bonnaire (capt), Bardy, Chouly. Replacements : Paulo, Debaty, Ric, Pierre, Lapandry, Radosavljevic, Skrela or Stanley, Buttin.