Bundee Aki and Paul Boyle will both miss Connacht's Heineken Champions Cup opener against Stade Francais this Sunday due to injury.

Aki hasn't featured since Ireland's Autumn Nations Series win against New Zealand last month as he deals with a knee injury, and will continue to rehab the injury this week.

Meanwhile, fellow Ireland international Paul Boyle will also be sidelined for "a number of weeks".

The Wexford native has been struck down with injuries to his shoulder as well as an Achilles problem, having missed their 47-19 defeat to Leinster last Friday night.

Connacht face a stiff challenge if they're to reach a first ever Heineken Champions Cup knockout stage, with Stade Francais and Leicester Tigers their opposition in the pool stage.

The province's chances of qualification too an early hit last season when they were beaten away from home by Racing 92 in their opening game of the competition.

However, this season's draw has afforded them home comforts against the former finalists in the opening round of matches, and head coach Andy Friend says they have to take the natural advantage they have been given.

"I think it's a really important one," Friend (below) said when asked of their home advantage.

"When that draw came out we were pretty thrilled to see that.

"It's fallen our way which is great and we have to make sure we don't let that opportunity go."

Sunday's opponents Stade Francais have been inconsistent so far in the Top 14 this season, with five wins and seven defeats from their 12 games, currently sitting 10th in the table, but will arrive in Galway on a high after an impressive come-from-behind win against La Rochelle at the weekend.

"The bits we know and have seen about them is they have a very dominant set-piece platform to launch from," the Australian added.

"Their win against La Rochelle at the weekend, and other games, showed when they get that right and that platform to launch, they can get energy off it. So our scrum will be really important, as will our maul.

They have brilliant individuals and we have to be aware of the threat those individuals will bring.

But more importantly, the focus has been over the last four games is about us and what we can do. We're aware of the threats that they have there. We need to get parity in those key areas. But when we get the ball, we can play our style and we believe we can cause them some issues.

"And when we don’t have the ball, we need to make sure we’re working collectively rather than individually."

Follow Leinster v Bath (Saturday 3.15pm), Connacht v Stade Francais (Sunday 1pm) and Wasps v Munster (Sunday 3.15pm) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app or listen to Leinster v Bath and Connacht v Stade Francais on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.