TAULUPE Faletau will hope it’s a case of third time lucky when he lines up for Bath in the semi-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Sunday, writes Chris Kirwan.
The former Newport Gwent Dragons number eight starts for the Aviva Premiership side in their clash with Stade Francais (kick-off 12.30pm).
The Stade Jean Bouin holds happy memories for Faletau, who on Wednesday was selected for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
The back rower was in the Dragons side that enjoyed a sensational 38-22 win in Paris in October, 2014.
A repeat would see Faletau earn a place in the final for the first time after losing in the last four against Edinburgh in 2015 and Montpellier last year when on the books at Rodney Parade.
He is joined in Bath’s matchday squad by fellow former Dragons Luke Charteris, who slots into the second row, and Shaun Knight, who is reserve tighthead, while ex-Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland is also on the bench.
The winners in Paris will face either Gloucester or La Rochelle, who clash at the Stade Marcel Deflandre tomorrow (kick-off 8pm). Wales blindside Ross Moriarty starts for the Cherry and Whites while Richard Hibbard is at the heart of the front row.
There is no longer any Welsh interest in the Champions Cup with holders Saracens facing Munster at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3.15pm) before Leinster and Clermont Auvergne clash in Lyon on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
The Pontypool-raised Vunipola brothers start for Sarries, Mako at loosehead and Billy at number eight, while the Irish province are without scrum-half Conor Murray because of a shoulder/neck problem.
Eight Lions - the Vunipolas, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Owen Farrell for the visitors, Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander for the hosts - feature.
Dragons-bound former Springboks full-back Zane Kirchner is among the replacements for Guinness PRO12 leaders Leinster, who are without Lions flanker Sean O’Brien (hamstring). Rhys Ruddock is his deputy.