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Humphreys urges Gloucester on to history in top tier bid


By Andrew Baldock

David Humphreys is out to make a little piece of rugby history this evening. Victory for Gloucester over Stade Francais in the European Challenge Cup final at Murrayfield would give them a record-equalling third Challenge Cup triumph and keep alive hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions Cup.

If Gloucester topple Stade, they will go into the Champions Cup qualification play-offs later this month, needing two more wins to rejoin the European elite.

Former Ulster star Humphreys, Director of Rugby at the Premiership outfit, said: "There is no extra motivation required for a cup final - everybody knows how important this game is for the club.

"We have to win on Friday, and we still have an opportunity to get Gloucester into next season's Champions Cup. That has been the motivation since the start of the year.

"But first and foremost, it has been about getting ready for the challenge and quality Stade Francais will bring.

"We have to cut out some of the mistakes we've seen this season. Even against Exeter last weekend we created lots of opportunities, but we didn't take them. In a cup final we have to make sure we take those chances."

For Parisians Stade, the final presents an opportunity for silverware following a turbulent campaign that was overshadowed by a potential and controversial merger between themselves and Racing 92, before being scrapped.

"We are very motivated," Stade skipper Sergio Parisse said.

"This season has been very difficult, but we must not forget the journey that we made to qualify for this final. We deserve to be here.

"We remained solid and united through adversity this season. There was a questioning of everyone.

"Maybe our level of motivation was a bit flat, but we did not let go. No matter what happens, it will be the craziest season I've had at Stade Francais."

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