Biarritz suffer Traille setback
April 26, 2010
Biarritz will not be able to call on Damien Traille © Getty Images
Biarritz have suffered a major injury setback prior to their Heineken Cup semi-final showdown with Munster in San Sebastian on Sunday, with France centre Damien Traille ruled out with a forearm injury.
Traille picked up the problem in the closing stages of Saturday's Top 14 defeat to Clermont Auvergne and will likely be sidelined for up to six weeks. There is a further worry for the Basque side as the availability of talismanic No.8 Imanol Harnordoquy is uncertain. The back-rower broke his nose against Racing Metro last weekend and will have to wear a cast for several days after undergoing surgery.
Skipper Jerome Thion believes that even with their injury problems Biarritz can pull out a result against Munster, their conquerors in the 2006 final at the Millennium Stadium, and keep alive their European hopes for next season after finishing seventh in the league.
"It is true that we didn't have a good season in the Top 14 and we have had a lot of injuries but each time we managed to regain our strengths and some cohesion within our group to play our Heineken Cup games," he told ERC. "So far, we've reached the semi-finals against Munster and we are pretty pleased with ourselves for doing that.
"When we lost our penultimate round of the Top 14 against Racing-Métro 92 it was our last chance gone of reaching sixth place in the league. It also means that we have to hope that a French club is crowned European champion next month if we want to compete in this tournament next season and it is clear that we will now throw everything we have at the Heineken Cup semi-final."
Munster have their own injury worries ahead of the trip to San Sebastian, with Paul O'Connell still yet to train due to the groin injury that has kept him out since Ireland's Six Nations defeat to Scotland.
"It's a race against the clock for Paulie," Tony McGahan admitted after his side's defeat to the Ospreys. "We're doing everything possible to get him into the frame to play. But more importantly he needs to be in the frame to train because he hasn't played for a long time. That's the first obstacle, to train, then it's a selection matter."
Other injury worries exist over Jerry Flannery (ankle) and De Villiers (ribs) who both picked up knocks at the weekend, but like Nick Williams, Tony Buckley, Doug Howlett, Ian Dowling and Keith Earls, Munster are hopeful all will be available.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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