Challenge Cup line-ups: Thursday

Date published: December 11 2013

Semisi Taulava will play his first match for over two months when Worcester face Biarritz in the Challenge Cup on Thursday.

Wing Josh Drauniniu will play his first match in a month when Worcester face Biarritz in the Challenge Cup on Thursday.

Thy flying wing will feature at number 14 in France for the first time since November's victory over Cardiff Blues, while Jeremy Becasseau also gets his first start since the trip to south Wales.

Academy youngsters Ben Howard and Max Stelling come into the backline, as does centre Ravai Fatiaki.

John Andress, Dean Schofield, Mike Williams, Chris Jones and Ignacio Mieres are all named in the starting line-up as Director of Rugby Dean Ryan makes ten changes to the side which hosted their French rivals last Thursday.

“I want to provide some opportunities for players to push for selection,” said Ryan.

“Because we have quite a small squad and some guys are under pressure to play every week, this is a chance to give them a rest. People have an opportunity to put their hands up for a Premiership place.

“We are starting to see the group evolve and after Christmas our selection will be a bit more consistent. This is a big window for some people to join that group.

“We have to keep working hard. We have struggled in the last ten minutes of games and we've spoken a lot about it.

“We've looked at ways of trying to control it in those periods but, until we break that, it will always be up for discussion.”

Meanwhile Biarritz welcome back Benoit Baby at outside centre and Imanol Harinordoquy at number eight as they look to make it two wins in a row against the Warriors.

Dimitri Yachvili and Damien Traille are both named amongst the replacements.

Biarritz: 15 Paul Couet-Lannes, 14 Aled Brew, 13 Benoit Baby, 12 Dan Waenga, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Julien Peyrelongue (c), 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Tanguy Molcard, 6 Benoit Guyot, 5 Josh Furno, 4 Addison Lockley, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Benjamin Whittaker, 1 Thomas Synaeghel.
Replacements: 16 Jonnah Dabti, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Ben Broster, 19 Erik Lund, 20 Ueleni Fono, 21 Damien Traille, 22 Dimitri Yachvili, 23 Charles Gimenez.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Ben Howard, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Chris Jones, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Richard de Carpentier, 5 Mike Williams, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 John Andress, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Jeremy Becasseau.
Replacements: 16 Nick Seymour, 17 George Porter, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 James Percival, 20 Paul Andrew, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 James Stephenson.

Date: Thursday December 12
Venue: Parc des Sports Aguiléra
Kick-off: 20:45 (local, 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Martyn Lewis (Wales), Jon Hardy (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Bordeaux-Bègles v Newport Gwent Dragons

Rhys Thomas returns to Dragons duty after three months out for their Challenge Cup clash with Bordeaux-Bègles in France on Thursday.

The hooker will be alongside nine other changes that have been made to the squad from last weekend's bonus point win against Bordeaux-Bègles at Rodney Parade.

“We were happy with Friday's outcome and performance,” said Director of Rugby Lyn Jones.

“However we fully understand that back-to-back matches are challenging and we are under no illusions.

“Our players are creating habits and they are good habits. We are attempting to push our attacking game forward a step… so I believe that we are moving in the right direction.”

Lyn Jones has made one change in the back five with Ross Wardle stepping in on the wing. He is joined in the back three by full-back Daniel Evans and winger Matthew Pewtner. The centre pairing remains the same with Pat Leach and Ashley Smith. Jason Tovey remains as fly-half and Wayne keeps his position at scrum-half.

Owen Evans takes his place at loosehead prop in the starting XV as Hugh Gustafson moves across to the bench. Young gun Sam Parry keeps his place as hooker and the Argentine tighthead prop Francisco Chaparro also bolsters the forwards. Skipper Andrew Coombs retains his place in the second-row alongside Rob Sidoli, who was rested last week. The back row remains the same with Lewis Evans as blindside flanker, Nic Cudd openside flanker and Toby Faletau at number eight.

Six changes have been made on the replacements bench with Thomas Rhys Thomas, Hugh Gustafson, Matthew Screech, Netani Talei, Steffan Jones and Will Harries. Both Nathan Buck and Richie Rees keep their places on the bench.

The teams:

Bordeaux-Begles: 15 Joaquim Tuculet, 14 Robert Lilomaiava, 13 Charles Brousse, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 Jean-Baptiste Lamotte, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Manu Saubusse, 8 Tai Tuifua, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6. Gauthier Gibouin (coffee), 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Cameron Treloar, 3 Silviu Florea, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Laurent DelBoulbes
Replacements: 16 Benat Auzqui, 17 Jefferson Poirot, 18 Benjamin Sa, 19 Aliki Fakate, 20 Marco Tauleigne, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Rafael Carballo, 23 Romain Lonca

Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Patrick Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Ross Wardle, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Andrew Coombs (coffee), 3 Francisco Chaparro, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Owen Evans
Replacements: 16 T. Rhys Thomas, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Nathan Buck, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Will Harries

Date: Thursday December 12
Venue: Stade Andre Moga
Kick-off: 20:30 (local, 19:30 GMT)
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Brive: 15 Laurent Ferreres, 14 Alfifeleti Mafi, 13 Andrew Mailei, 12 Thomas Laranjeira, 11 Baptiste Delage, 10 Romain Sola, 9 Thomas Sanchou, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Hugues Briatte, 6 Said Hireche, 5 Simon Pinet, 4 Victor Lebas, 3 Yusuf Tuncer, 2 Francois Da Ros (capt), 1 Johannes Coetzee.
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Ribes, 17 Damien Lavergne, 18 Kevin Buys, 19 Julien Le Devedec, 20 Fabien Laurent, 21 Damien Neveu, 22 Anderson Neisen, 23 Sevanaia Galala,

Bucharest Wolves: 15 Tibi Conache, 14 Stephan Hihetah, 13 Csaba Gal (capt), 12 Florin Vlaicu, 11 Ionut Dumitru, 10 Mike Wiringi, 9 Vali Calafeteanu, 8 Dorin Lazar, 7 Adrian Ion, 6 Viorel Lucaci, 5 Johan Van Heerden, 4 Valentin Popirlan, 3 Vlad Badalicescu, 2 Florin Bardasu, 1 Alexandru Tarus.
Replacements: 16 Eugen Capatana, 17 Florin Sasu, 18 Jimmy Dumitru, 19 Alexandru Mitu, 20 Daniel Ianus, 21 Ciprian Caplescu, 22 Florin Surugiu, 23 Catalin Dascalu.

Date: Thursday December 12
Venue: Stade Amédée-Domenech
Kick-off: 19:30 (local, 18:30 GMT)
Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy)

Lusitanos: 15 Nuno Penha e Costa, 14 Gonçalo Foro, 13 Diogo Miranda, 12 Joao Silva, 11 Francisco Appleton, 10 Francisco Vieira Almeida, 9 Francisco Pinto de Magalhães, 8