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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas