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Preview: Montpellier v Clermont

19th September 2013 16:45

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Wesley Fofana Clermont Montpellier 2012

Tough road trip: Clermont visit Montpellier

Top 14 leaders Clermont travel south to face an in-form Montpellier side at Stade Yves Du Manoir on Friday.

Montpellier are fifth but only three points off top spot.

The pair are two of only five teams to have won a single away match in a peculiar start to this season, in which eighth-placed Racing Metro have the same record of four wins and two defeats as Clermont, yet have taken three less bonus points.

Montpellier, beaten 28-16 at Perpignan last week, will welcome back captain and France flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo as several first choice players return to the fold having been rested in Catalonia.

Clermont have not won in Montpellier since 2009, losing 16-9, 29-9, 29-23 and 13-8 on their last three visits. Coach Vern Cotter is hoping his team will play themselves into form ahead of next month's European Cup kick-off.

"We want to increase in power, right up until the start of the European Cup," he said.

"Against Grenoble (a 27-13 victory in which Clermont conceded a late try to miss out on an attacking bonus) we lacked aggression at the end of the match.

"We'll try to get that right for the next match."

Montpellier will be without injured Scotland loose forward John Beattie, Georgian prop Misha Nariashvili and Scottish lock Jim Hamilton but have recalled Anthony Floch, Anthony Tuitavaké, Jonathan Pélissié, Timoci Nagusa and Thibaut Privat into the starting XV.

Clermont have recalled Sitiveni Sivivatu and Wesley Fofana into their backline while Ludovic Radosavljevic takes over from Gavin Hume at fly-half.

The teams:

Montpellier:15 Anthony Floch, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Yoan Audrin, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Bobins Tchale watchou, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Yvan Watremez,
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Nicolas Mas, 18 Mickael De Marco, 19 Kelian Galletier, 20 Benoit Paillaugue, 21 Thomas Combezou, 22

Benoit Sicart, 23Naama Leleimalefaga.

Clermont: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Gerhard Vosloo, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Loic Jacquet, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Vincent Debaty.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Cabello, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Gavin Hume, 21 Regan King, 22 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 23 Clement Ric.

Date: Friday, September 20
Venue: Stade Yves Du Manoir, Montpellier
Kick-off: 20.45 local (18.45 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah

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