Stade Francais Game Key in Amlin Challenge

Tonight’s fixture with French giants Stade Francais is not only crucial to the final outcome of our Amlin Challenge Pool 1 but it also brings back memories of two of my greatest days in the sport.

In May 2001, I was part of the Leicester Tigers side that beat them 34-30 in a Heineken Cup final in their own back yard. It was an amazing game which saw us come from behind to snatch victory late on.

It was both fractious and thrilling and many of the Tigers boys will tell you that it was the best game of their careers.

We came out on top again in another cracking meeting in the quarter-finals in April 2007 at Welford Road which we won 21-20. I threw an intercept pass which led to their try but then managed to knock over the conversion of Tom Varndell’s late try to give us a one-point win.

It was an amazing atmosphere and I will remember it for a long time to come.

I am expecting Sixways to make plenty of noise tonight as well. We are hoping for a close-to-capacity crowd. Worcester’s fans are very loyal and they make Sixways a great place to play rugby.

It is the key game in the group. You would hope that we would win all four of our games against our fellow pool opponents Banca Monte Crociati from Parma, Italy and the Bucharest Wolves from Romania.

I expect Stade to do the same and set-up an all-or-nothing pool decider in Paris in January.

First and foremost though, we need to win tonight.

Stade have a star-studded array of internationals and they have picked a strong side with the likes of Sergio Parisse in the back row, Pascale Pape and Tom Palmer in the second row, Felipe Contepomi at fly-half and my old mate, Paul Sackey in the backs.

But we are confident and we also know that Stade have really struggled away from home in the Top 14 this season.

I hope them and their pink shorts don’t fancy a cold, wet night in Worcester.


Follow the Amlin Challenge Cup results here.

Read more from Andy Goode at Living Rugby.

You can buy pink stuff on the Boutique section of Stade's website.

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