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Stade trying not to to be tempted by Chabal


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Article Published: Saturday 18 February 2012


Stade Francais's Australian coach Michael Cheika admits he is a fan of colourful French star Sebastien Chabal, but is wary of being tempted into making a knee-jerk swoop for the forward.

Chabal quit Stade's neighbours Racing-Metro after a blazing row with coach Pierre Berbizier earlier this month and has headed to Australia to play a one-off club match on February 25 in Sydney.

But he has been mentioned as an emergency back-row replacement for Stade's Tongan import Lei Tomiki, who is out injured.

"It's a long season and if there's a position where we have a lot of players, then it's in the back row," said Cheika.

"We will see, but it's not a priority at the moment."

When pressed on the likelihood of 34-year-old Chabal being drafted in, Cheika added: "He's going to Australia.

"It's difficult because Racing-Metro is a neighbour. To change a team would be difficult for him. We have seen it before. Carlos Tevez left Manchester United and went to City, so you never know.

"But for the moment, I don't want to talk too much about this. I cannot say that I don't like the player. I like him a lot. He gives everything when he plays, but in the back row we have players.

"He is an honest player. He says what he thinks," added Cheika, whose side take on Toulon on Saturday in the Top 14.

Toulon, who are third in the table, but 14 points behind pace-setters Toulouse, could welcome back back-row forward Olivier Missoup, who has finished his four-month suspension for attacking Montpellier's Remi Martin in September.

The post-match brawl left Martin needing 10 stitches in his lip.

Toulouse face Agen and will have lock Romain Millo-Chluski back in the line-up after he hurt his right shoulder in the 51-10 win over Lyon at the start of January.

They will, however, be without flanker Jean Bouilhou, loosehead Guthro Steenkamp and centre Yannick Jauzion.

Clermont, in second place, go to crisis club Bayonne, whose coach Jean-Pierre Elissalde quit after just three matches in charge last month.

Bayonne have New Zealand lock Troy Flavell available as well as back-rower Julien Puricelli.

Clermont will rest their four French internationals who have been on Six Nations duty -- Julien Bonnaire, Aurelien Rougerie, Julien Malzieu and Wesley Fofana.

Fixtures

Friday:

Perpignan v Biarritz

Saturday:

Bordeaux v Montpellier,
Bayonne v Clermont,
Lyon v Racing Metro,
Toulouse v Agen,
Brive v Castres,
Stade Francais v Toulon

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