Preview: Montpellier vs Dragons

Date published: April 22 2016

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Montpellier head coach Jake White has made five changes to his starting XV that will face Newport Gwent Dragons in the second Challenge Cup semi-final at Altrad Stadium on Saturday.

Anthony Tuitavake replaced by Robert Ebersohn in the midfield with the former being named on the bench. 

Ben Lucas and Nic White are named amongst the replacements as they are replaced by Demetri Catrakilis and Benoit Paillaugue respectively, in a new look half back combination

In the front row, Nicolas Mas and Mickael Ivaldi make way for the South African brothers Jannie and Bismarck Du Plessis respectively, as they pack down next to Georgian international Mikheil Nariashvili.

White has opted to keep his second and back row combinations the same which sees Pierre Spies, Akapusi Qera and Fulgence Ouedraogo forming the loose forward trio while Paul Willemse and Robins Tchale-Watchou are named as the lock duo.

Meanwhile, Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones has named an unchanged starting lineup for their Challenge Cup semi final clash with Montpellier.

Taulupe Faletau, Nic Cudd and Lewis Evans continue as the back row combination while the impressive Brok Harris, Elliot Dee and Phil Price will come up against a more experienced Montpol front row.

Former Gloucester prop, 26-year-old Shaun Knight is replaced by Lloyd Fairbrother on the bench while Geraint Rhys Jones makes room for the exciting Jack Dixon are the only changed in the matchday squad.

Form: Saturday's semi-final will be the first meeting between the sides in European competition, however Montpellier did face Newport RFC in the Challenge Cup back in 1997/98, losing home and away. 
Montpellier will be appearing in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup for the first time; they lost both of their previous quarter-final matches before defeating Sale Sharks in the last eight this season. 
The Dragons will be making their third appearance at this stage of the competition; they have never reached the final, conceding 45 points in both of their previous semi-finals. 
The Dragons have won five of their last six games against Top 14 opposition in the Challenge Cup, including the last three in a row. 

The teams: 

Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Robins Tchale Watchou, 3 Jannie Du Plessis, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Mickael Ivaldi, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Thibaut Privat, 20 Wiaan Liebenberg, 21 Nic White, 22 Benjamin Lucas, 23 Anthony Tuitavke

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Jack Dixon

Date: Saturday, April 23
Venue: Altrad Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 BST (16:30 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Greg Garner (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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