Clermont's James in for Skrela ahead of rugby match

AFP News
David Skrela (left)
Clermont's French fly-half David Skrela (left) rides the ball during the French Top 14 rugby Union match against Stade Toulousain at the stadium Marcel Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, March 2012. Skrela has been ruled out of Clermont's European Cup semi-final against Irish province Leinster, the Top 14 side's coach Vern Cotter said

Injured France fly-half David Skrela has been ruled out of Clermont's European Cup semi-final against Irish province Leinster, the Top 14 side's coach Vern Cotter said Wednesday.

It means Australian Brock James will come in for what will be Clermont's first-ever semi-final appearance in the competition, this Sunday in Bordeaux.

Skrela, 33, suffered a thigh injury during the 22-3 quarter-final win over Saracens on April 8 and now requires surgery.

The Frenchman, who has already won the top honour in the European game with Toulouse in 2010, is likely to be sidelined for several weeks meaning he would be unable to play, Cotter added, if Clermont make the May 19 final at Twickenham.

As Cotter's preferred player in the role, Skrela is expected to be fit for the final phase of the Top 14 championship.

"I expect him to return in time for the final phase of the Top 14," said Cotter.

Clermont are already through to the Top 14 semi-finals, where they will face Toulouse on the weekend of June 2-3.