Challenge Cup teams: Friday

Date published: November 19 2015

Round Two of the Challenge Cup continues on Friday, with Agen hosting Edinburgh and Calvisano travelling to Montpellier.

Agen v Edinburgh

Agen have made several changes to their starting line-up for this clash after suffering a 48-10 defeat away defeat to London Irish in their tournament opener last weekend.

In all there are six changes to their run-on side including three positional switches.

Amongst the backs Leka Tagotago takes over from Filipo Nakosi on the right wing. Nakosi switches to the left wing where he replaces Jason Deschamps.

There's also a change in midfield with Pierre Fouyssac coming in at outside centre to join Julien Heriteau who did duty in the number 13 jersey against London Irish. Heriteau takes over from Vincent Roux who was at 12 last weekend.

There's also a new halfback pairing with fly-half François Bouvier and scrum-half Clement Darbo replacing Bautista Guemes and Paul Abadie respectively.

Darbo also takes over the captainuy from Abadie.

Up front, Sione Tau comes into the back row on the blindside flank where he takes over from Antoine Miquel who moves over to the other side of the scrum where replaces Nicolas Gal.

The final change is in the second row where Léo Bastien is preferred to Denis Marchois.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh have made five changes to their starting XV – three among the backs and two in the pack – to the starting XV that beat Grenoble 28-10 last weekend. 

Tom Brown switches from left to right wing as Tongan international Otulea Katoa make his first start for Edinburgh, in the 11 jersey, and scrum-half Sean Kennedy moves up from the bench. 

Fly-half Greig Tonks maintains his spot to partner Kennedy in the half-backs with Dougie Fife again at full-back and Will Helu and Matt Scott retained in the centre pairing.

The front row of Alasdair Dickinson at loosehead, Ross Ford at hooker and WP Nel at tighthead is retained with Ford captaining the side for this match. 

Fraser McKenzie returns to partner Anton Bresler in the second row, with John Hardie and last Friday’s double try-scoring man of the match, Cornell Du Preez, remaining at openside and number eight respectively. Back-row Nasi Manu moves up from the bench to start at blindside. 

Meanwhile, the bench features Scotland U20 captain and back row Jamie Ritchie who could make his first professional competitive appearance in European competition. 

Head coach Alan Solomons said: “Our satisfaction in last week’s win over FC Grenoble was obviously tinged with sorrow at the events which unfolded in Paris towards the end of the game against our French visitors.

“We know the atmosphere at Friday’s game will be emotionally charged and will respect our hosts in reflecting on those who were involved.

“Our focus will be on our match and our performance. While we took the win over FC Grenoble there were parts of our game where we fell short and we’ve worked hard in training this week to improve those areas. 

“Although Agen lost away from home to London Irish last weekend we know that French teams are a different animal in front of their home support and know we’ll need to really put in a performance on Friday.” 

The teams:

Agen: 15 François Tardieu, 14 Leka Tagotago, 13 Pierre Fouyssac, 12 Julien Heriteau, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 François Bouvier, 9 Clement Darbo (c), 8 Marc Baget. 7 Antoine Miquel, 6 Sione Tau, 5 Léo Bastien, 4 Jean-Baptiste Roidot, 3 Nicolas Chocou, 2 Marc Barthomeuf, 1 Quentin Bethune. 
Replacements: 16 Florian Dufour, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Dave Ryan, 19 Corentin Braendlin, 20 Felicien Vergnon, 21 Baptiste Cadiou, 22 Timothé Guillimin, 23 Benoit Sicart.

Edinburgh: 15 Dougie Fife, 14 Tom Brown, 13 William Helu, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Otulea Katoa 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 John Hardie, 6 Nasi Manu, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson. 
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Dean

Date: Friday, November 20
Venue: Stade Armandie
Kick-off: 20:30 local (19:30 GMT)
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Mark Connolly (Ireland)
Assessor: Eric Darriere (France)

Montpellier v Calvisano

Montpellier boss Jake White has wielded the axe for this clash as the home side try to bounce back after last weekend's 41-18 loss away to Harlequins.

White has made eight changes in all including three positional switches. Amongst the backs, Benjamin Fall switches from right wing to full-back where he replaces Jesse Mogg with Julien Malzieu taking over on the wing.

Anthony Tuitavke moves from inside to outside centre where he takes over from Timoci Nagusa and Robert Ebersohn comes in to the starting XV to wear the number 12 jersey.

Up front, Kelian Galletier slots in at number eight in place of Akapusi Qera while Ben Mowen replaces Wiaan Liebenberg at openside flank. 

Thibaut Privat replaces Robins Tchale Watchou in the second row and Mickael Ivaldi is preferred to Craig Burden at hooker.

Meanwhile, Calvisano have made just one change to their starting line-up that lost 50-9 to Cardiff blues last weekend. 

The only change is in the forwards where Alessio Zdrilich replaces Matteo Archetti on the blindside flank. 

Inside centre Tommy Castello will captain the side again.

The teams:

Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Julien Malzieu, 13 Anthony Tuitavke, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Kelian Galletier, 7 Ben Mowen, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo (c), 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili. 
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 CJ Van Der Linde, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Robins Tchale Watchou, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Nic White, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Yvan Reilhac

Calvisano: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Ben De Jager, 13 Alberto Chiesa, 12 Tommy Castello (c), 11 Marco Susio; 10 Filippo Buscema, 9 Riccardo Raffaele, 8 Jim Tuivaiti, 7 Maxime Mbanda, 6 Alessio Zdrilich, 5 Davide Zanetti, 4 Agustin Cavalieri, 3 Salvatore Costanzo, 2 Lorenzo Giovanchelli, 1 Sami Panico. 
Replacements: 16 Gabriele Morelli, 17 Elia Violi, 18 Rudy Biancotti, 19 Luca Beccaris, 20 Matteo Archetti, 21 Renato Giammarioli, 22 Giacomo De Santis, 23 Daniele Di Giulio

Date: Friday, November 20
Venue: Altrad Stadium
Kick-off: 21:30 local (20:30 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), tbc (England)