Preview: Clermont v Grenoble

Date published: August 27 2015

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Two of the standout teams from the opening weekend of Top 14 action will face off at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Friday.

Clermont produced arguably the performance of round one as they travelled to La Rochelle and hammered them 44-6, running in five tries in a stunning all-round display.

The result was all the more impressive when you consider that La Rochelle lost just once at home last season in the league, while Clermont were deprived of a number of their World Cup stars.

In their absence, young second-row Paul Jedrasiak shone, finishing off one length-of-the-pitch counter-attack which also featured the irrepressible Nick Abendanon.

He and fellow Englishman David Strettle look to be in fine form to start the season, while Camille Lopez also looked back to his best.

Available this week will be lock Sébastien Vahaamahina, cut from France's World Cup squad, as well as medical jokers Marthinus van der Westhuizen and Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, and Clermont will expect to cement their place at the top of the table against Grenoble.

The visitors also picked up maximum points last time out, battling past Agen before running in two late tries to seal a 38-23 win.

For that game they were without Jonathan Wisniewski, who was a late withdrawal, and it will be the same again on Friday, the fly-half still struggling with an adductor problem.

Last year the two met on the opening day of the season, with Grenoble arguably unlucky not to come away with a win, eventually going down 30-26.

Despite their bonus-point success last weekend, it seems unlikely that they will go one better this season, even if Clermont are without 11 World Cup players against a Grenoble team with no international absentees.

The teams:

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Enzo Sanga, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Camille Gérondeau, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Clément Ric, 2 Iuri Natriashvili, 1 Thomas Domingo (c)
Replacements: 16 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17 Raphaël Chaume, 18 Arthur Iturria, 19 Julien Bardy, 20 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, 21 Patricio Fernandez, 22 Adrien Planté, 23 Daniel Kotze

Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Daniel Kilioni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Xavier Mignot, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Fabien Gengenbacher (c), 9 James Hart, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Jonathan Best, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 James Percival, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Walter Desmaison, 2 Arnaud Héguy, 1 Fabien Barcella
Replacements: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Steven Setephano, 19 Henry Vanderglas, 20 Christophe Loustalot, 21 Clément Gelin, 22 Chris Farrell, 23 Dayna Edwards

Date: Friday, 27 August
Venue: Stade Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand
Kick-off: 21:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Adrien Descottes

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