Coaches Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt again go head-to-head off the pitch when defending Heineken Cup champions Leinster clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin in a crucial Pool 5 match with the return in Round 4 set for a vibrant Aviva Stadium.
Both teams are two from two but Cotter's Clermont have a two-point advantage thanks to invaluable try bonus point wins gainst the Scarlets and Exeter Chiefs.
"Qualifying from the Pool will depend on this double header," said Cotter as Clermont prepare to defend their unbeaten ground record stretching back over three years.
"They, as we have done, have long marked this date in the calendar.
"My players are very excited, focused and motivated by the idea of playing this match."
Schmidt and Cotter were on the same side when Schmidt was one of the French club's coaches before he moved to Dublin while the clubs are becoming almost annual opponents - including Leinster beating Clermont 19-15 in last season's semi-final - and Cotter knows the threat Schmidt's team will pose both home and away.
"They are a team who control the ball well and play with a lot of speed," he said.
"They're used to big matches and this competition. With a two-point deficit on us, they know that they don't have any other solution than to go away with a result here.
"I know Joe well and I'm sure he'll try to move the ball around. We'll have to be ready to adapt by remaining focused and accurate."
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
With the build-up to the Dublin 2013 European club rugby finals intensifying by the day, the four elite clubs of ASM Clermont Auvergne, Toulon, Leinster Rugby and Stade Francais Paris, who are focused on their quest for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup silverware respectively, won't be the only clubs with Europe on their mind over the weekend of 17 and 18 May.
With eight leading clubs still in the race for coveted Dublin 2013 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup final berths, this weekend's European semi-finals will be watched keenly by Bath Rugby, Connacht Rugby and London Wasps among others as their hopes of qualification for the 2013/14 Heineken Cup hang in the balance.
Stade Français Paris scrum half, Jérôme Fillol (No 9), has been suspended for fourteen (14) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final match against Bath Rugby.
Read all three hearing decisions here..
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