Mignoni desperate for victory over Bath

There was an edge of desperation to the Montferrand scrum-half Pierre Mignoni as he contemplated today's Parker Pen Challenge Cup semi-final second-leg tie at home to Bath, the Zurich Premiership leaders.

"It is very simple, we must win," said the France international, whose team's defeat last weekend at home to Castres effectively ended their hopes of European qualification via the French Championship.

"We have to claw back their 14-point advantage and beat them because the only way we can save our season is to qualify for the Heineken Cup next year. And to do that we have to win the Parker Pen Challenge Cup."

But Mignoni knows it will not be easy. "Bath are an excellent team, as strong up front as they are behind the scrum. They have strength in depth and they will be going flat out to win."

Montferrand, who have been training behind locked doors in Vichy since Wednesday and will not arrive in Clermont Ferrand until 90 minutes before kick-off, will be without another France international, Franck Comba, who ruptured cruciate ligaments in his knee last week and is out for the season.

Bath change four of the side that disappointed at Northampton last week. Olly Barkley returns at fly-half, Simon Danielli is back on the left wing. Up front, the captain Danny Grewcock starts in the second row alongside the in-form Steve Borthwick, while David Barnes takes over from the injured David Flatman (achilles) at prop. Mike Catt (sore lower back) and flanker Michael Lipman (hip) face late fitness tests.

Harlequins take a nine-point advantage over to Galway for tomorrow's semi-final second leg tie against Connacht, who are hugely motivated.

If the under-rated province win the Challenge Cup and gain automatic entry into next season's Heineken Cup it will mean one of the big three - Munster, Leinster or Ulster - having to drop down into the lesser tournament. The hot money is on Ulster, although the whisper is that nothing formal has been decided.

Quins will be without the hooker Tani Fuga, who has just begun his seven-week suspension after being found guilty by ERC of stamping on Connacht lock Damian Browne - Quins have confirmed that they have lodged an appeal against the length of the ban.

Mel Deane and Paul Burke return to the centre and fly-half positions, while James Hayter replaces Fuga and Pat Sanderson returns to the back row.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before