Preview: Castres v Montpellier

Date published: December 16 2016

Castres have made wholesale changes for their Champions Cup clash with Montpellier, with just three players from last weekend’s starting XV returning.

Afusipa Taumoepeau stays in midfield, shifting to 13, while Rory Kockott remains at scrum-half and Anthony Jelonch moves from flanker to number eight.

Second-row Loïc Jacquet, full-back Geoffrey Palis, fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta and Tonga international Steve Mafi all come into the starting XV for Christophe Urios and his side.

Meanwhile, Montpellier boss Jake White has been far more conservative, switching just three of his starting side from last weekend’s victory.

Joe Tomane starts at outside centre in place of Vincent Martin, while Demetri Catrakilis takes over at fly-half from his compatriot Francois Steyn.

The final change comes in the front row where former Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis gets the start at tighthead in place of Davit Kubriashvili.

Form: Montpellier are currently in second position in the Pool 4 standings, one point behind Leinster while Castres occupy third position on the table. Castres lost their tournament opener at Leinster before putting Northampton to the sword in clinical fashion in their next match. Last weekend, they were on the losing side in the corresponding fixture at Montpellier. That result put Jake’s White’s charges back on track after a slow start to the competition in which they lost narrowly to Northampton in Round 1 before claiming a home triumph over Leinster.

The teams:

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Julien Caminati, 13 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 12 Florian Vialelle, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Steve Mafi, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Victor Moreaux, 4 Loïc Jacquet, 3 Damien Tussac, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Mihaita Lazar
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Yohan Montes, 19 Thibault Lassale, 20 Alexandre Bias, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Julien Dumora, 23 Pierre Berard

Montpellier:15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Joe Tomane, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic White, 8 Akapusi Qera (c), 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Nicholaas Van Rensburg, 4 Konstantine Mikautadze, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Antoine Battut, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Henry Immelman, 23 Yvan Reilhac

Date: Sunday, December 18
Venue: Stade Pierre-Antoine
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Peter Allan (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)