Leicester boss Richard Cockerill warns of Stade Francais threat
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill is wary of a Stade Francais team with nothing to lose ahead of Sunday's Champions Cup quarter-final.
The injury-hit French champions have mounted a dismal defence of their domestic title, sitting third from bottom in the Top 14 table knowing that it will be one of Agen or Oyonnax who are relegated.
Cockerill believes the absence of anything to play for other than the greatest prize in European club rugby transforms Stade into dangerous foes.
"I would imagine they will come to Welford Road fully loaded. They are third bottom in their Championship and won't make Europe via the league," Cockerill said.
"There's no chance of them getting relegated. I imagine this will be their only focus. It makes them more dangerous that they have only got one thought.
"Knowing that they were sixth in the league last season and ended up being champions means I am acutely aware they can win big one-off games.
"They came from nowhere to win the competition last year. We can't be complacent in any way shape or form.
"In hindsight, maybe the Gloucester performance (Leicester won 35-30) has maybe helped focus the minds a little bit."
Cockerill has selected a new back row of Brendon O'Connor, Lachlan McCaffrey and Mike Fitzgerald while Mathew Tait returns at full-back to captain the team.
The winners at Welford Road will face a semi-final at either Racing 92 or Toulon with Sunday's last-eight showdown between the French giants completing this weekend's Champions Cup fixtures.