Preview: Clermont v Exeter

Date published: January 20 2017

Morgan Parra will captain Clermont for their final pool match of the Champions Cup at home to Exeter this weekend.

Clermont overall make seven changes to the side who defeated Bordeaux-Bègles in Round 5.

Scott Spedding starts at full-back with Isaia Toeava ruled out through injury, while Nick Abendanon returns on the wing in place of Adrien Planté.

The half-backs and centre are unchanged with Wesley Fofana and Rémi Lamerat retained in midfield, and captain Parra partnering Camille Lopez.

Changes in the back row see two new flankers start in Alexandre Lapandry and Peceli Yato, while in the second row Arthur Iturria replaces Paul Jedrasiak.

Finally up front, Aaron Jarvis starts at tighthead prop, while Benjamin Kayser gets the nod at hooker.

In what is the second game of a four-game Cup month for the Chiefs, Exeter Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has again rotated his options ahead of Saturday's encounter.

Up front, Jack Yeandle and Tomas Francis come into the front-row for Luke Cowan-Dickie and Greg Holmes. Ollie Atkins takes over from compatriot Mitch Lees alongside Jonny Hill; while Kai Horstmann gets the nod in the back-row over Tom Johnson, who drops to the bench

At the back, Jack Maunder starts at scrum-half, Ollie Devoto comes into the centre alongside two-try hero Michele Campagnaro in the centre, while James Short fills the wing spot vacated by Jack Nowell, who is being rested by Baxter.

Form: The Chiefs face Pool 5 leaders Clermont on Saturday hoping to join them in the last eight. They are second after following December's win over Bordeaux Begles by seeing off Ulster at Sandy Park last Sunday. But they will need to gain maximum points against Clermont and hope other results go their way to stand any chance of qualification. The Chiefs are in fine form after losing just once in 10 games. Their  turnaround in form has helped lift them from the foot of Pool 5 to second and in with a slim chance of qualification for the last eight. Clermont have steamrolled their way through the Champions Cup pool stages, accumulating 21 points and losing just once. They wrapped up Pool 5 after narrowly beating Bordeaux 9-6 last Sunday.

The teams:

Clermont: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Nick Abendanon, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra (c), 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Davit Zirakashvili, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Aurélien Rougerie, 23 Alivereti Raka

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Kai Horstmann, 6 Don Armand, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Moray Low, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Joe Simmonds

Date: Saturday, January 21
Venue: Stade Marcel-Michelin
Time: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT) 
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Kieran Barry (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)


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