Challenge Cup teams: Thursday

Date published: December 7 2016

Challenge Cup action returns after a six-week break and there are two matches on Thursday with Gloucester and Grenoble hosting La Rochelle and Ospreys respectively.

Gloucester v La Rochelle

Form: This is a highly anticipated clash between the two form teams in Pool One. Both have won their two opening fixtures with bonus points and are in joint first position on the table, with 10 points from their two fixtures played, although La Rochelle have a superior points differents. The Cherry and Whites kicked off their campaign with an impressive 47-27 win at Bayonne and La Rochelle claimed a deserved 41-10 away victory over Treviso. Gloucester then beat Treviso 37-8 at Kingsholm in Round Two and La Rochelle thrashed Bayonne 51-24 at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 David Halaifonua, 14 Ollie Thorley, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Joe Latta, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Josh Hohneck 
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Charlie Sharples, 23 Lewis Ludlow

La Rochelle: 15 Vincent Rattez, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Steve Barry, 12 Botia Veivuke, 11 David Raikuna, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 7 Victor Vito, 6 Kevin Gourdon, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Mike Corbel 
Replacements: 16 Maxime Gau, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Damien Lagrange, 20 Romain Sazy, 21 Alexi Bales, 22 Brock James, 23 Elliot Roudil

Date: Thursday, December 8
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Grenoble v Ospreys

Form: The Ospreys backed up their bonus-point Round One triumph over Newcastle Falcons by taking maximum points in a 31-13 triumph over Lyon at the Matmut Stadium. Steve Tandy's men are out to claim victory on French soil once again as they bid to strengthen their grip on Challenge Cup Pool 2. While the Welsh region top the pool, Grenoble are yet to register a point and sit bottom of the pool after defeats to the Falcons and Lyon. Last season's semi-finalists are also struggling on the domestic front, as they prop up the Top 14.

The teams:

Grenoble:  15 Armand Batlle 14 Pierre Mignot, 13 Clement Gelin, 12 Nigel Hunt, 11 Tino Nemani, 10 Gilles Bosch, 9 David Mele, 8 Dylan Hayes, 7 Steven Setephano, 6 Kevin Kornath, 5 Mathias Marie, 4 Mickael Capelli, 3 Walter Desmaison, 2 Etienne Fourcade, 1 Alexandre Dardet 
Replacements: 16 Loick Jammes, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Dayna Edwards, 19 Thomas Jolmes, 20 Henry Vanderglas, 21 Lilian Saseras, 22 Fabrice Estebanez, 23 Bastien Guillemin

Ospreys: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Keelan Giles, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Daf Howells, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Thomas Habberfield, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Rory Thornton, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Paul James 
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Rob McCusker, 22 Brendon Leonard, 23 Sam Davies

Date: Thursday, December 8
Venue: Stade de Alpes
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Simone Boaretto (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)