18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
Lawrence Dallaglio, Rob Howley, Craig Dowd, Phil Greening, Alex King, Simon Shaw, Paul Sampson, Joe Worsley, Fabien Galthie, Pieter De Villiers, Diego Dominguez, Christophe Dominici, Thomas Lombard, Franck Comba, Fabrice Landreau, Christophe Moni...just some of the world class players from London Wasps and Stade Francais.
And when the two capital city clubs clash at Adams Park early on Sunday afternoon it could have been a game to grace the final of any major European club rugby tournament.
That underlines the quality of the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP and this first leg quarter-final contest.
"A shame it is not the final," was the shared sentiments of Stade Francais coach Nick Mallett and Shaun Edwards, his opposite number at Wasps.
Mallett, the former South African coach, added: "I believe they are two of the best teams left in the competition and are both deserving of a place in the final.
"I saw Wasps' recent matches against Leicester and Gloucester and, by the way they played in those games, it is obvious they are the form team at the moment.
"They have a good chance of finishing in the top three of the English premiership and that is also our aim - to be one of the top few French sides at the end of the season.
"If you look at the teams still in the running in the competition, we are the highest ranked French team left and they are the best placed English side. We are similar teams in many ways and they would have been as disappointed as us to miss out on the Heineken Cup.
"There will be some interesting duels in these matches - Rob Howley really is an excellent scrum-half and it is unusual for a player of his quality not to be playing international rugby. He and Fabien Galthié are quite similar - they are both great players and their passing of the ball is top class. It will be a good test for them both.
"The other interesting area is the back row. Wasps have some excellent back rowers - Lawrence Dallaglio, Joe Worsley and Paul Volley were superb in recent matches I saw and we have Rémy Martin and Christophe Moni, who played well against Harlequins.
"Wasps have really turned their season around and a lot of that is down to Warren Gatland whom I respect greatly. He did a great job with Ireland and he has had a very positive effect on Wasps since his arrival. They contest the line-out and they are far better organised in defence now. They are a good all-round team with no real weaknesses."
Edwards, the former GB Rugby League star, said: "It is a huge game for both clubs, it is exciting to have them at our ground and we are hoping for a crowd of up to 8,000.
"And if we can beat Stade over the two legs, that should put us in a strong position overall and, possibly, favourites to win the title. Our main aim this season was to qualify for next season's Heineken Cup. We can do that by winning the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP but we also want to finish in the Premiership top three.
"And Wasps and Stade know each other reasonably well. We played them in the Heineken Cup last year and over in Paris, when they beat us 31-0, they were the best side I have seen, producing the best rugby I have seen, in my 18 months with Wasps.
"It was much closer at our place earlier in the tournament, Stade winning 25-19, and we know they are a side with a massive array of talented players and a top coach in Nick Mallett.
"They are a quality team - but we are certainly not there just to make up the numbers."