Rugby Union: Optimistic Longstaff

Paul Trow studies Scottish plans to punish Gallic indiscipline
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The Independent Online
SHAUN LONGSTAFF and his Glasgow Caledonians team-mates believe they have identified a potential weakness in the star-studded Stade Francais side they meet today in Pool A of the Heineken European Cup in Paris.

Stade Francais put 54 points over Aurillac in a French league match last week, but the 27-year-old wing feels they lack discipline and take too many risks. "They have a lot of international players and like to toss the ball around," said the New Zealand-born Scot. "But a few of them were trying to show off. If we can hit them hard straight away maybe the French temperament will not stand up to it."

Glasgow can call on five members of Scotland's World Cup squad and their coach, Richie Dixon, will be relying heavily on two other former Kiwis - the full-back Glenn Metcalfe and No 8 Gordon Simpson.

Stade Francais, boosted by the 27-20 upset of group favourites Leicester by Leinster in Dublin on Friday, are likely to field French World Cup stars Christophe Dominici, Marc Lievremont and Christophe Juillet and Italy's record points scorer Diego Dominguez.

Francois Pienaar's Saracens begin their Pool D campaign away to last year's finalists Colomiers with their confidence undermined by last Sunday's league defeat at Gloucester. But Pienaar said: "We are excited about playing in the European Cup and the aim is to play quality and intelligent rugby."

Wasps, who have not won any of their last four games, entertain Llanelli at Loftus Road in Pool C with a serious question-mark over their current form. But their director of rugby, Nigel Melville, said: "The way we lost at Leicester recently was disappointing and too many penalties were given away in crucial areas. We intend to put that right this week." Llanelli will give the Wales No 8, Scott Quinnell, a late fitness test before unleashing him for the much-anticipated head-to-head with Lawrence Dallaglio. Meanwhile, the Harlequins coach Zinzan Brooke praised his side after they drew their Pool E opener 32-32 in Cardiff on Friday, but Grenoble face an anxious wait while Edinburgh Reivers decide what action to take over the brawl which followed their 23-18 home win over the French side in Pool F.

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