Amlin Challenge Cup finalists Biarritz Olympique could take a giant step closer to Top 14 survival when they go to Stade Yves du Manoir to play Montpellier in a vital Round 25 match on Friday night.
But they will again be without their hugely influential captain and No 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, who missed the 19-0 semi-final victory over Brive last weekend and is again ruled out with a knee injury.
Biarritz will be desperate to have their inspirational leader fit for the Amlin Challenge Cup final while Lakafia fills his back row place against Montpellier in a side captained by Damien Traille.
Dimitri Yachvili is named among the replacements with Yann Lesgourgues wearing the No 9 jersey.
Biarritz - who were at the bottom of the table earlier in the campaign - have hauled themselves up to 9th place and banked 47 points with two fixtures to go.
They may need five more points to be absolutely safe and free to concentrate on the Amlin Challenge Cup final against Toulon at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, 18 May, but will also watch results elsewhere with a keen interest.
On a weekend with key relegation battles the main issues Biarritz have it all to do against fourth placed Montpellier, who themselves want to make sure they are involved in the play-offs.
Lyon Rugby, who travel to Perpignan, are already doomed to relegation while Brive are home to Bordeaux-Begles and Bayonne have home advantage over Agen in the battles to see who goes down with them.
Biarritz Olympique: M Bosch; T Ngwenya, C Gimenez, D Traille (capt), B Baby; J Peyrelongue, Y Lesgourgues; F Barcella, B August, F Gomez Kodela, J Thion, P Taele, T Gray, W Lauret, R Lakafia
Replacements: A Heguy, Y Watremez, E Lund, B Guyot, D Yachvili, J-P Barraque, S Burotu, E van Staden
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.