The probable compositions of the French clubs for the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup

This weekend the round of 16 of the Challenge Cup begins, it will be an opportunity to find four French teams involved. Whoever from Toulon, Castres, Lyon or Biarritz will be able to succeed last year’s winners Montpellier. Find out the likely compositions of the French clubs that will play in the Round of 16.

London Irish – Castres

The starting XV of the London Irish: 15. Parton; 14. Rowe, 13. Rona, 12. Rensburg, 11. Hassell-Collins; 10. Jackson, 9. Phipps (ch.); 7. Gonzalez, 8. O’Brien, 6. Pearson; 5. Simmons, 4. Coleman; 3. van der Merwe, 2. Creevy, 1. Goodrick-Clarke.

substitutes : 16. Cornish, 17. Gigena, 18. Hoskins, 19. Nott, 20. Rogerson, 21. White, 22. Joseph, 23. Arundell.

One thing is for sure, the Castres will cross paths with some of the biggest names in world rugby this Friday night. First, that of Agustín Creevy. The 37-year-old Argentine hooker is the captain of this Irish London team (eighth in the Premiership) and should lead them again against CO. Behind him will also be two Australian internationals, Adam Coleman and Rob Simmons. As you may have understood, it will not be an easy task for Castres against this team that qualified with two wins on the clock, a draw and a loss. It should be noted that the Tarnais will cross paths with a familiar face, that of Steve Mafi, champion of France in 2018 with the blue and white.

The initial XV of Castres:
substitutes: 16. Humbert, 17. Tichit, 18. Guillamon, 19. Jacquet, 20. Kornath, 21. Tukino, 22. Arata, 23. Le Brun.

Nursing : the CO rotates for this meeting. In any case, the Castres squad recovers Martin Laveau for these round of 16. The winger had been absent for almost two months. In midfield, Vilimoni Botitu also returns after a three-week suspension with Théo’s professionals. Chabouni and Feibyan Tukino. The first city will start on the wing while the former Grenoble resident will do so on the substitutes’ bench, made up of six forwards for two three-quarters. Touched by a foot against Brive, Benjamín Urdapilleta still falls short to apply against the English team. The same for the Canadian Tyler Ardron, absent since the beginning of 2022 and who could return in the coming weeks.

Biarritz – Wasps

The initial XV of Biarritz: 15. Lucu; 14. Speight, 13. Kuridrani, 12. Saili, 11. Barry; 10. Bosch, 9. Couilloud; 7. Hirigoyen, 8. Armitage, 6. Dixon; 5. Olmstead, 4. O’Callaghan; 3. Azariashvili, 2.Peyresblanques (cap.), 1. Erdocio.
substitutes: 16. Soury, 17. Tcheishvili, 18. El Fakir, 19. Gimeno, 20. Aliouat, 21. Aurrekoetxea, 22. Herron, 23. Domvo.

Nursing : second row Andrew Cramond (concussion), hooker Romain Ruffenach (ACL) and prop Yvan Watremez (shoulder) are long-term injured. The Guy Millar abutment (herniated disc) is expected in late April. Starter Ilian Perraux (third concussion) will be out for three months. Fullback Romain Lonca (concussion), scrum-half Tomas Cubelli (broken calf) and winger Yohann Artru (fractured fibular head) all finished their season. Scrum-half Clément Darbo (pubalgia), full back Joe Jonas (ankle), back row Tornike Jalagonia (adductors), center François Vergnaud (toe), young hooker Clément Renaud (knee), props Quentin Samaran (shoulder), James Cronin and Giorgi Nutsubidze (cervical hernia) as well as winger Gavin Stark are in the sick bay.

Wasps beginning XV: 15. Umag; 14. Odogwu, 13. Fekitoa, 12. Gopperth, 11. Kibirige; 10. Atkinson, 9. Robson; 7. J. Willis, 8. Barbeary, 6. Shields ; 5. Stooke, 4. Launchbury (ch.) ; 3. Alo, 2. Oghre, 1. West.

substitutes : 16. Frost, 17. Harris, 18. Millar-Mills, 19. Cardall, 20. T. Willis, 21. Porter, 22. Spink, 23. Bassett.

Tenth in Group 2 of the Champions Cup, the Wasps returned to the “small” European Cup, despite a 30-22 win against defending champions Stade Toulousain in mid-January. “It is unfortunate to have been knocked out of the Champions Cup, but the ChallengeCup is a prestigious tournament and we have our eyes on the final in Marseille,” England fly half Charlie Atkinson said this week. It’s like a second chance. “Apart from the continental scene, the Wasps stand at four successes (two in the league, two in the FA Cup). The yellow and black have not lost for a month. Therefore, it is without a doubt a great piece that arrives at Aguilera this Friday night.


The starting XV of Lyon: 15. Laporte; 14. Tuisova, 13. Barassi, 12. Ngatai, 11. Dumortier; 10. Hike, 9. Couilloud, 7. Taufua (ch.), 8. Fainga’a, 6. Cretin; 5. R. Taofifenua, 4. Lambey; 3. Bamba, 2. Marchand, 1. Rey.
substitutes: 16. Charcosset, 17. Devisme, 18. Gomez Kodela, 19. Mayanavanua, 20. Sobela, 21. Pélissié, 22. Veredamu, 23. Berdeu.

Nursing : most of Lyon’s injured have had their injuries treated. If knee-affected international second-row Kilian Géraci and back-row center back Mathieu Bastareaud are unavailable, New Zealand center-back Charlie Ngatai (knee) and back-row full-back Patrick Sobela are reinstated and apply against the Warriors. The victim of a fractured orbital floor, second row Loann Goujon has returned to the field but continues to train without contact. In the event of qualifying, Lou will face the winner of Newcastle-Glasgow in the quarter-finals, still on their pitch at Matmut Stadium Gerland.

Worcester’s starting XV: 15.Doel; 14. Howe, 13. O. Morris, 12. Beck, 11. Healr; 10. Smith, 9. Simpson; 7. Hill (ch.), 8. Vailanu, 6. Batley; 5. G. Kitchener, 4. Clegg; 3. Judge, 2. Annett, 1. Sutherland.

substitutes : 16. Miller, 17. Waller, 18. McCallum, 19. Lewis, 20. Forsythe, 21. Chudley, 22. Searle, 23. Atkinson.
Worcester shares two points in common with the Lous: they were exempt on the last day of the Challenge Cup and remain in a wide loss at home in the English league, against Newcastle (10-45). The common points end there. Winner only once on European pitches, in Parma in January, the Englishman, twelfth in the Premiership, qualified in extremis, taking the ticket to the best quarter of the pool. Hit by covid in March, culminating in a canceled game at Gloucester, they appear to have struggled to get back on track. Center Francois Venter, fly half Owen Williams and back row Sam Lewis are still expected to miss out, while young center Ollie Lawrence appears close to returning to the field.

Toulon – Treviso

Toulon’s probable starting XV: 15. Luke; 14. Kolbe, 13. Smaïli, 12. Paia’aua, 11. Villière; 10. Charcoal, 9. White; 7. Ollivon (ch.), 8. Parisse, 6. Isa; 5. Alainu’ox ou Rebbadj, 4. Etzebeth; 3. Gigashvili, 2. Tolofua, 1. Gros.

Nursing : good news for the Var squad with hooker Anthony Étrillard (ribs) and flanker Raphaël Lakafia (back) both operational. Scrum-half Baptiste Serin and Julien Hériteau (knee) did not train on Thursday. Prop Bruce Devaux, flankers Julien Ory (elbow) and Cornell DuPreez and three-quarter centre-back Théo Dachary (knee) are not available for these round of 16 matches that RCT, the debuted number 2 in the group stage, are addressing in the skin of the favorite on your Mayol lawn. A field that Rouge et Noir will find, in the event of qualifying, in the quarterfinals and then in the semi-finals.

Treviso: The Benetton, without complexes!

Retired from the United Rugby Championship (13th), Benetton Treviso now prioritizes the Challenge Cup. The Italian team should be similar to the one that beat Perpignan (17-7) last Saturday for the last day of the group stage. A success that put an end to a streak of seven games without knowing a victory and allowed the Italians to finish among the best third in the group. This Saturday night, the internationals Monty Ioane (winger), Michele Lamaro (third row) or Federico Ruzza (second or third row) should step on the grass of Mayol to scrape against Parisse’s band. The latter has already faced a transalpine team in the group stage. Against Zebre, Varois had won weakly (28-14). Much more robust and organized than its neighbors, the Benetton arouses the distrust of the Toulonnais.

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