Clermont face a tricky Massif Central derby against Brive on Friday as they gear up for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals a week later.
Top 14 leaders Clermont face a tricky Massif Central derby against Brive on Friday as they gear up for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals a week later.
Brive has proved a tough place for les Jaunards to score points in recent years, having won 9-6 there on their last visit in 2011 and drawing 9-all the previous season.
Clermont won 36-29 on home soil earlier this season but they have rarely produced their best on the road – winning just two games so far this season -but they will fancy their chances of victory having won 10 of the last 12 games between these sides.
Brive were thrashed 38-6 in Castres last week, but played the last quarter with just 13 men and conceded three tries in the last twelve minutes.
The hosts should be ultra-motivated as victory on Friday should be enough to book Brive a place in the top division next season.
Brive welcome back Fijian loose forward Sisa Koyamaibole in the starting XV and Tonga speedster Alifeteli Mafi on the bench. South African fly-half Riaan Swanepoel has recovered from a foot injury to start.
Scrum-half Damien Neveu and loose forward Dominiko Waqaniburotu are both absent having been shown red cards last week.
Clermont welcome back Wesley Fofana while skipper Aurelien Rougerie starts on the wing as Sitiveni Sivivatu is rested. Benjamin Kayser returns from injury on the bench.
Brive: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Guillaume Namy, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Andrew Mailei, 11 Elia Radikedike, 10 Riaan Swanepoel, 9 Jean baptiste Pejoine, 8 Sisaro Koyamaibole, 7 Said Hireche, 6 Petrus Hauman, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Julien Ledevedec, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Karlen Asieshvili.
Replacements: 16 Francois Da Ros, 17 Goderzi Shvelidze, 18 Simon Pinet, 19 Hugues Briatte, 20 Thomas Sanchou, 21 Romain Sola, 22 Alfifeleti Mafi , 23 Patrick Barnard,
Clermont: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Aurelien Rougerie, 13 Regan King, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Gerhard Vosloo, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Loic Jacquet , 19 Elvis Vermeulen, 20 Thierry Lacrampe, 21 Michael Delany, 22 Benson Stanley, 23 Clement Ric.
Date: Friday, March 27
Venue: Stade AmÃ©dÃ©e Domenech
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal