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Heineken Cup
Delany out of semi-final due to technicality
ESPN Staff
April 23, 2013
Clermont Auvergne fly-half Mike Delany goes for the posts, Clermont Auvergne v Toulouse, Top 14, Stade Marcel Michelin, April 20, 2013
Mike Delany helped steer Clermont to victory over Toulouse © Getty Images
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Clermont Auvergne fly-half Mike Delany will not be able to play in their Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster due to a registration issue.

Delany joined the Top 14 giants earlier this month from the Panasonic Wildknights as a medical joker to cover Julien Famoux's injury. But despite having played twice in the Top 14 for Les Jaunards since his move, he will not be free to play Munster this weekend as he was not registered for European duty in time.

"A team which qualifies for the knock-out stages has until March 21 to register three extra players. Clermont didn't register any," explained an ERC spokesman to AFP. "Lately there has been a request from Clermont to register Mike Delany and the club was told he could not play."

And the news means if Clermont reach the final, then Delany, who signed a permament two-year deal with the side earlier this week, will still be unable to play. With Brock James struggling with an injury and Famoux out, it seems likely David Skrela will start at fly-half against Munster.

The match on Saturday will be Clermont's 15th tournament clash with an Irish team - eight against Leinster, two against Ulster Rugby and four previous contests against Munster - and their flanker Julien Bonnaire is wary of their never-say-die attitude.

"We often play Irish teams so we can better study their strategies," he said. "All Irish teams play the same kind of game and they're always hard to beat because of their high level of determination. We will have to be patient to build a victory and be strong on the basics. We know they are very strong in the front lines and if we cannot match them in this area it will be tough.

"There is a very healthy concurrence between all the players. We all get along very well and you can see that out on the pitch. And, unlike previous years, we do not have injuries to key players and that has helped us to be mentally and physically fresh."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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