Find a preview of the probable compositions of the French clubs for their return from the knockout stages of the Champions Cup!
Harlequins – Montpellier
The Quins firmly believe in it.
Scorers of four tries in the second half last week, the Harlequins will surely be able to make up the fourteen-point lead they have over MHR, who led 34-0 at half-time! As of this writing, they had no major injuries and should field a very similar team to last week.
Montpellier’s likely starting XV : 15. Weaver; 14. Ngandebe, 13. Reilhac, 12. Pollard, 11. Lucas; 10. Foursans, 9. Aprasidze or Eymeri; 7. Camara (cap.), 8. Becognée, 6. Ouedraogo; 5. Willemse, 4. Verhaeghe; 3. Tomas, 2. Girado, 1. Nariashvili.
substitutes: 16. Maourouard, 17. Rodgers, 18. Lamositele, 19. Chalureau, 20. Mercer, 21. Eymeri or Doan, 22. Doumayrou, 23. Bouthier.
Nursing South African scrum-half Cobus Reinach was released at half-time in the first leg with a shoulder problem and will not feature in the second leg. A little alert also for the other Georgian scrum-half Gela Aprasidze, who experienced muscle discomfort during the week. In case of absence, he will be replaced by the young Aubin Eymeri and Martin Doan will take his place on the bench because Benoît Paillaugue, finally recovered from an operation on his cruciate knee ligaments, should return to competition next week. It is worth mentioning several returns, such as that of Yacouba Camara, recovered from a finger operation. Substituted or absent last week, Nariashvili, Thomas, Verhaeghe, Ouedraogo, Bécognée, Reilhac, Tisseron and Lucas will start, as will South African world champion starter Handré Pollard, who will start at centre.
La Rochelle – Bordeaux-Bègles
La Rochelle’s probable starting XV
substitutes: 16. Bosch, 17. Papidze, 18. Sclavi, 19. Skelton, 20. Vito ou Liebenberg, 21. Berjon, 22. Plisson, 23. Danty.
Infirmary: affected respectively in an ankle and in the adductors on Saturday, second row Lavault (sprain) and debutant Popelin (relapse) miss out on this second leg but their season is not over. The Aouf pillar has resumed training but does not apply. The Wardi pillar (pectoral) and the Retière winger (ankle) point to the second leg against Perpignan, in a week. Scrum-half Le Bail (adductors) still has to wait. The coaching staff announced six changes from the first leg, including Piquette, Haddad and Alonso Muñoz.
The probable starting XV of Bordeaux-Bègles : 15. Duchy; 14. Mori, 13. Moefana, 12. Massé, 11. Lam; 10. Garcia, 9. Lesgourgues or Lucu; 7. Diaby (cap.), 8. Vaipulu, 6. Bochaton or Roumat; 5. Roussel or Jolmes, 4. Douglas; 3. Kaulashvil, 2. Maynadier, 1. Paiva.
substitutes: 16. Lamothe, 17. Tameifuna, 18. Tabidze, 19. Jolmes or Roussel, 20. Roumat or Bochaton, 21. Lucu or Lesgourgues, 22. Dubié, 23. Cros.
Nursing: Pablo Uberti (knee ligaments) has a long-term injury. Romain Buros (shoulder) resumed training but without contact. Matthieu Jalibert and Yoram Moefana are operational. We saw Thomas Jolmès train, like Alban Roussel. Jefferson Poirot has a calf strain, Bastien Vergnes-Taillefer a knee injury and Louis Bielle-Biarrey has an adductor problem. Guido Petti is recovering from his meniscus problem and Cyril Cazeaux from his operated wrist.
Leicester – Clermont
Moroni to replace suspended Porter
Victorious in the first leg at Clermont, the Leicester Tigers should present an almost unchanged team composition to negotiate this second leg. The only absence (of size) will obviously be that of central defender Guy Porter, sanctioned after the red card received on the Michelin lawn for an impact, without the ball, at Fritz Lee’s head, which earned him fifteen stitches. Porter should logically be replaced in the starting XV by the Argentine Matías Moroni while on the bench, it is an old acquaintance of the Top 14 who should make an appearance for him. Whether it will be former Montpellier resident Nemani Nadolo or former Rochelais (and Clermontois) Kini Murimurivalu remains to be determined.
Clermont’s likely starting XV : 15. Tiberghien; 14. Raka, 13. Moala, 12. Fofana, 11. O’Connor; 10. Hanrahan or Lopez, 9. Parra; 7. Fischer, 8. Lee, 6. Van Tonder; 5. Vahaamahina (ch.), 4. Th. Lanen ou Amatosero; 3. Ojovan, 2. Beheregaray, 1. Falgoux.
substitutes: 16. Fourcade, 17. Beria ou Bibi Biziwu, 18. Slimani, 19. Amatosero ou Th. Lanen, 20. Cancoriet, 21. Viallard, 22. Hanrahan, 23. Barraque.
Nursing: After Damian Penaud (Ankle), Kotaro Matsushima (Shoulder) joined Nursing for long weeks. A tile compensated in part by the return to the competition of Barraque (plantar aponeurosis). As for the herd, it is still relieved of executives such as Arthur Iturria (plantar aponeurosis), Tomas Lavanini (cervical) or Peni Ravai (cervical). Only flanker Jacobus Van Tonder should return to competition this week, while Sébastien Vahaamahina, Fritz Lee and Judicaël Cancoriet should be able to keep their place after being safe at the start of the week.
Ulster – Toulouse
Moxham package, expected continuity for Ulster
Released on concussion protocol after Mallia’s tackle that earned him a red card last week, winger Ben Moxham is now following return-to-play protocols. Hamstring strained, he’s also out of shape and joins several of his teammates in the club’s infirmary: Will Addison (leg), Jacob Stockdale (ankle), Jack McGrath (hip) and Greg Jones (thumb). winger Ethan McIlroy, who also recently suffered a concussion against the Bulls, will be able to take his place. Otherwise, the composition should closely resemble the one lined up in the Stadium.
The initial XV of Toulouse : 15. Palms; 14. Delibes, 13. Nanai-Williams or Holmes, 12. Ahki, 11. Lebel; 10. Ntamack, 9. Dupont (ch.) or Germain; 7. Cros or Flament, 8. Jelonch, 6. Elstadt; 5. Ri.Arnold, 4. Ro.Arnold; 3. Faumuina, 2. Mauvaka, 1. Yawn or Neti.
substitutes: 16. Cramont, 17. Neti or Baille, 18. Aldegheri, 19. Meafou, 20. Flament or Brennan, 21. Tolofua, 22. Germain or Page-Relo, 23. Holmes or Nanaï-Williams.
Nursing : Argentine winger Juan Cruz Mallia, who received a red card last Saturday, is suspended. Alban Placines (sprained ankle) and Sofiane Guitoune (cleft fibula) will be out for several weeks. Santiago Chocobares (knee), Yannick Youyoutte (biceps) and Arthur Bonneval (orbital floor) are unavailable. Julien Marchand (calf) must also be missed. Pita Ahki (knee), Antoine Dupont (stomach pain), Matthis Lebel (crutch) and Cyril Baille (fatigue) were saved at the start of the week. François Cros (hip alert) stopped his session on Tuesday but should apply.
Racing 92 – French Stadium
The titular XV of Racing 92 : 15.Spring; 14. Thomas, 13. Vakatawa or Chavancy, 12. Fickou (ch.), 11. Imhoff; 10. Russell, 9. LeGarrec; 7. Lauret, 8. Tanga-Mangene, 6. Diallo; 5. Palu, 4. Chouzenoux; 3. Gomes Sa, 2. Chat or Baubigny, 1. Gogichashvili or Ben Arous.
substitutes: 16. Baubigny or Chat, 17. Ben Arous or Kolingar, 18. Nyakane, 19. Bresler, 20. L. Jones, 21. Gibert, 22. Klemenczak, 23. Dupichot.
Nursing: Le Roux, Machenaud, Sanconnie, Iribaren, Le Guen, Pesenti are not available. Vakatawa, long hampered by a rib injury, should be able to keep his place alongside former Soldier Rosa Fickou. Ben Arous, absent in the first match, returns to the dance, when Cjouzenoux should remain in a second row position where he shone last week. Beale, injured in a thigh, leaves Max Spring to continue in the back of the field.
The probable starting XV of the Stade Français: 15. Hamdaoui ou Veainu; 14. Naivalu, 13. Glover, 12. Arrate, 11. Veainu ou Lapègue; 10. Sanchez, 9. Hall; 7. Francoz ou Godener ou Macalou, 8. Gray, 6. Briatte; 5. Van der Mecht; 4. Gabrillagues ou Maestri; 3. Roelofse, 2. Da Silva, 1. Castets.
substitutes: 16. Panis, 17. Kakovin, 18. Melikidze, 19. Maestri or Gabrillagues, 20. Macalou or Godener or Fancoz, 21. Percillier, 22. Segonds, 23. Hamdaoui or Lapègue or Barré.
Infirmary: Paul Alo-Emile had to undergo surgery this week for pubalgia. He joins the “long-term” injured list: Delbouis, Béthune, Waisea. Latu is suspended for eleven weeks. Azagoh received a large crutch last weekend. Laumape and Etien are also absent. As for Macalou, uncertainty reigns. Again, he barely trained all week.