Challenge Cup teams: Round One

Date published: October 17 2014

Get all the teams ahead of this weekend’s Challenge Cup matches, with highlights including Cardiff Blues against Grenoble.

Get all the teams news ahead of this weekend’s Challenge Cup matches, with highlights including Cardiff Blues against Grenoble.

Lyon v London Welsh
Matmut Stadium

Lyon have rested leading veteran stars such as George Smith and Lionel Nallet for the visit of Premiership strugglers London Welsh.

A number of youth players get the nod including Sami Mavinga, Cameron Mapusua, Thibaut Regard and Felix Lambey.

Meanwhile, London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell has shuffled his pack.

The Exiles make 13 changes with Matt Corker and Nic Reynolds the only survivors from the side which faced Newcastle. On the bench, assistant coach Gordon Ross is posed to make his first appearance of the season.

London Welsh will be looking for their first win of the season, but face a Lyon side – last season’s Pro D2 champions in France – which currently sit ninth in the Top 14.

“Saturday gives us a great opportunity to have a look at other members of our squad who are chomping at the bit to get some game time and show what they can do,” said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.

“It’s been a good week; there’s been a lot of hands to the pump and there’s been some good work done in the build up to Saturday.

“We’ve a lot of new faces coming in to the starting XV and it’s taken a completely different slant to what’s taken place over the previous six weeks. These boys have come in and they certainly see it as a chance to lay down a marker on Saturday and over the next couple of weeks.

“But it certainly doesn’t get any easier when you look at where Lyon are sitting in the Top 14 – they’ve had some decent results.”

Lyon: 15 Jerome Porical, 14 Franck Romanet, 13 Paul Bonnefond, 12 Fabrice Estebanez (c), 11 Thibaut Regard, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Masi Matadigo 7 Alexandre Derrien, 6 Eugene Nzi, 5 Simon Christian Njewel, 4 Steevy Cerqueira, 3 Anthony Roux, 2 Cameron Mapusua, 1 Sami Mavinga.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Philippe Bonrepaux, 17 Bogdan Balan, 18 Emmanuel Felsina, 19 Joe Tuineau, 20 Felix Lambey, 21 Mathieu Loree, 22 Waisele Seru Sukanaveita, 23 Romain Loursac

London Welsh: 15 Chris Elder, 14 Alan Awcock, 13 Nick Reynolds, 12 James Lewis, 11 Rhys Crane, 10 Tristan Roberts, 9 Rob Lewis, 8 Ben Pienaar 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Benjamin West, 5 Mat Corker (c), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Jack Gilding, 2 Mathew Dobson, 1 Shane Cahill.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Ricky Reeves, 18 Ben Cooper, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Daniel Browne, 21 Paul Rowley, 22 Gordon Ross, 23 Seb Stegmann

Date: Saturday, October 18
Kickoff: 14:00 local (12:00 GMT)
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)

Cardiff Blues v Grenoble
Arms Park

New-look half back pairing Gareth Davies and Lloyd Williams will join forces as Cardiff Blues kick-off the new Challenge Cup with a clash against Grenoble.

Blues welcome the French Top 14 side to the Welsh capital for the first-ever clash between the two teams. And Director of Rugby Mark Hammett has named a powerful team as he makes six changes to his line-up.

Fly-half Davies, the late hero of the epic home European victory over Toulon last season, and scrum-half Williams are both selected among the backs.

Positional changes see Rhys Patchell move to full-back while Adam Thomas switches to outside centre and is paired with Gavin Evans in midfield.

Richard Smith is named on the wing with Alex Cuthbert missing the game with a minor strain. The Welsh wing is not risked in this fixture and is expected to return for next week’s away clash in Italy.

Prop Sam Hobbs also makes a return to the starting selection, alongside skipper Matthew Rees and Adam Jones.

Two changes in the back row result in Macauley Cook coming in at blindside flanker while Italian international Manoa Vosawai plays at number eight.

“It’s fantastic to be back home, after three successive away games, and all the players are looking forward to the challenge. As a region we have a proud past in Europe and we must look to build on that history and launch our latest campaign with a victory,” said Hammett.

Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Adam Thomas, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Geraint Walsh, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Cory Allen, 23 Dan Fish

Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Xavier Mignot, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Geoffroy Messina, 11 Daniel Kilioni, 10 Jordan Michallet, 9 James Hart (c), 8 Dylan Hayes 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Louis Marrou, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Thibault Rey, 3 Albertus Buckle, 2 Anthony Hegarty, 1 R