Challenge Cup teams: Friday

Date published: December 15 2016

Three fixtures take place in the Challenge Cup on Friday, with the clash between Pool 3 pacesetters Brive and second-placed Enisei-STM the pick of the matches.

The other action sees Pau host Bristol while the Dragons take on Worcester Warriors.

Brive v Enisei-STM

Form: Brive ensured they didn't slip up again in Russia in Round 3 – thanks to a 43-8 victory – and will now go in search of another bonus point win over Enisei-STM this weekend to consolidate their position at the top of Pool 3. The Russians have ambushed some good sides this season and last on home soil, but Brive were too strong up front and played with the tactical nous needed to quell stiff opposition. With three games in succession on the road, life will only get tougher for Enisei from now on. Their wins over Worcester Warriors and the Dragons showed in the opening two rounds what they are capable of at this level, and earned them top spot in the pool table. But Brive, who were beaten 10-7 in the same fixture last season, weren't about to let Enisei spoil their 100th game in the Challenge Cup.

The teams:

Brive: 15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Christopher Tuatara, 12 Seremaia Burotu, 11 Benito Masilevu, 10 Thomas Laranjeira, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Said Hireche, 6 William Whetton, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Damien Lavergne
Replacements: 16 Thomas Acquier, 17 Vivien Devisme, 18 Soso Bekoshvili, 19 Arnaud Mela, 20 Julien Le Devedec, 21 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 22 Sevanaia Galala, 23 David Delarue

Enisei-STM: 15 Ramil Gaisin, 14 Thomas Halse, 13 Jurijs Baranovs, 12 Dmitrii Gerasimov, 11 Denis Simplikevich, 10 Iurii Kushnarev, 9 Alexey Shcherban, 8 Anton Rudoi, 7 Maxim Gargalic, 6 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 5 Viacheslav Krasylnyk, 4 Uldis Saulite, 3 Innokentiy Zykov, 2 Stanislav Selskii, 1 Andrei Polivalov
Replacements: 16 Shamil Magomedov, 17 Vlery Morozov, 18 Jake Grey, 19 Evgeny Elgin, 20 Igor Kurashov, 21 Konstantin Uzunov, 22 Aleksei Mikhaltsov, 23 Andrey Temnov

Date: Friday, December 17
Venue: Stade Amédée-Domenech
Kick-off: 19:00 local (18:00 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Sara Cox (England)

Pau v Bristol

Form: Bristol produced one of their best performances of the season to thrash Pau 41-14 in their corresponding Challenge Cup encounter last Sunday. Now, as they travel to France for Friday's rematch, the challenge for the English side is to back that performance up and record what would be only their third win of the season. In Pool 4, Bristol are looking to keep up the pressure on pacesetters Cardiff Blues and Bath and back-to-back successes over Pau would go a long way to doing just that. Bristol – who have five points to show from their three Challenge Cup matches to date – are three behind Bath and will be hoping the Blues can do them a favour by beating their near rivals on Thursday. Pau, meanwhile, prop up the pool having lost all three of the games so far but won't roll over at the 13,819 capacity Stade du Hameau.

The teams:

Pau: 15 Charly Malie, 14 Marvin Lestremeau, 13 Julien Fumat, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Bastien Pourailly, 10 Brandon Fajardo, 9 Thibault Daubagna, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Daniel Ramsay, 4 Masalosalo Tutaia, 3 Sylvain Charlet, 2 Lucas Rey, 1 Julien Jacquot
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq Brettes, 17 Geoffrey Moise, 18 Matthew Tierney, 19 Fabrice Metz, 20 Giovanni Habel Kuffner, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Pierre Dupouy, 23 Romain Buros

Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Thretton Palamo, 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Jack Wallace, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jonathan Fisher, 6 Mitch Eadie, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 James Phillips, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Ryan Bevington
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Giorgi Nemsadze, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Jack Tovey

Date: Friday, December 17
Venue: Stade du Hameau
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Bob Nevins (Scotland)

Dragons v Worcester Warriors

Form: The Dragons know a home win over Worcester Warriors is vital if they are to have any hopes of reaching the latter stages of the Challenge Cup. The Welsh region welcome Worcester to Rodney Parade on Friday after their 33-20 defeat by the English side left them firmly rooted to the bottom of Pool 3. After reaching last season's semi-finals for the second year in a row, the Dragons are now up against it to repeat that feat. Their only win came in their tournament opener against Brive and before last weekend's defeat at Worcester, they aslo lost away at Enisei-STM. Their return fixture against Worcester is followed by games at home with Russian side Enisei and away to Brive in January. Worcester are third on the table, having won one out of their three matches. They suffered a shock defeat at Enisei in their first match before losing narrowly to Brive and then beat the Dragons last weekend.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Rhys Jones, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Angus O'Brien, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Lewis Evans 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Phil Price, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Tyler Morgan, 23 Jack Dixon

Worcester Warriors: 15 Josh Adams, 14 Ben Howard, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Connor Braid, 9 George DeCothi, 8 Matt Cox, 7 Marco Mama, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 4 Will Spencer, 3 Mike Daniels, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Ryan Bower
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Andrew Kitchener , 20 Huw Taylor, 21 Charlie Hewitt, 22 Sam Ripper Smith, 23 Jamie Shillcock

Date: Friday, December 17
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Oisin Quinn (Ireland)