Can Stade Be Beaten? - Three Leinster players have their say


Stade Francais strengths? "Just the speed they play the game at, their rucking game. Their forwards are very quick and also their backs, and their forwards can almost play as backs, they are that good at handling and they're so fast."

Stade Francais weaknesses?

"That's a tricky one alright. Maybe because Ulster have them up in Ravenhill, but I don't know how good a team spirit Stade Francais have. I know when we had them under the cosh a few times, I thought we had the beating of them. If a team gets ahead of them and they get the crowd behind them, then they might be under a bit of pressure."

And how do you beat them? "Not that I'd know or anything, but to beat a team as good as them you just have to attack and not have too much respect for them. Just go out there and play your own game and I'm sure that Ulster can take them if they play to their ability."

Stade Francais strengths? "I think it's primarily their speed of play. They have dynamic runners and ballcarriers the whole time. Their setpieces are obviously very good. Dominguez is a key player, he calls the shots and he can play every sort of game."

Stade Francais weaknesses? "I think maybe driving line-outs and rolling mauls at them off line-outs, might be a weakness possibly. I couldn't say it (discipline) but they do do a lot of naughty things. So, if Ulster keep their heads, the penalties could go their way."

And how can Ulster beat them? "I think they have to beat them at their own game really. You've got to make high intensity tackling - offensive tackles so the ball-carrier can't get the ball away - and power play in the forwards. Don't give them any room in the backs - quick four-up blast defence - close them down, don't give them any space. That's really all they can do. Definitely they have to have a chance."

Stade Francais strengths? "They're really strong and if you let them, they'll physically intimidate you. Their continuity is excellent; they very rarely go to ground, the ball is constantly popped up and in their control, and their support play is brilliant. Because they can do anything from anywhere, and the pace of their backs, they can score from their own line."

Stade Francais weaknesses? "They blow hot and cold. They were two different sides we played against even though they had the same 15 players. Over here they had a cockiness that they could pull through at the end. They're back-row defence wasn't as good as the rest of their game, and they weren't great under the high ball."

And how can Ulster beat them? "I think they've a good chance. The only thing is we beat them for 60 minutes, Ulster have to beat them for 80. If you lose your concentration you can be in serious trouble. But if they keep them contained and controlled; from phase to phase and not a fast, continuous game, then they've got a serious chance."