Planet Rugby

Preview: Clermont v Montpellier

28th August 2014 16:03

Share:

Welsey Fofana Brive v Clermont Top 14 2014

First start: Wesley Fofana will line up alongside Jonathan Davies

Clermont have the chance to move to the head of the Top 14 when they welcome Montpellier to the Stade Marcel Michelin on Friday night.

Les Jaunards have won each of their opening two games, seeing off Grenoble before winning away at rivals Brive.

However Montpellier, who finished last year's regular campaign second in the table, represent a step-up in opposition, despite some early struggles.

Last season this game was most notable for the sending off of Morgan Parra for a headbutt on Rene Ranger in the first half, but despite playing for more than an hour with 14 men, Clermont still cruised to a 42-16 win, with Sitiveni Sivivatu slotting in seamlessly at scrum-half.

It's tough to see this game being so one-sided, but when the two sides met in pre-season, it was Clermont who emerged as comfortable winners.

This game will see Wesley Fofana start his first game of the season forming a mouthwatering centre partnership with Jonathan Davies.

Brock James returns at fly-half to replace the impressive Camille Lopez, while Fritz Lee will also make his first start of the season, skipper Damien Chouly switching to blindside to accommodate him.

Montpellier will use this game to blood a few of their new signings, with former Australia skipper Ben Mowen starting at number eight, and ex-All Black Tom Donnelly in the second row.

The make-up of the team, with the likes of François Trinh-Duc, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Nicolas Mas all starting, hints that Fabien Galthié is targeting an upset, although Clermont have not lost at home during the regular season since 2009.

Montpellier will need to improve on last week's display against Grenoble, where they got out of jail thanks to a late Jonathan Pélissié penalty, but were outplayed for large periods of the game.

Rene Ranger has been dropped to the bench having struggled defensively, with Benjamin Fall taking his place on the left wing.

Other new faces include Wynand Olivier, featuring for the first time this season, and Antoine Battut, making his first start since a move from Racing.

With a bonus point now requiring the losing side to get within five points, it will take a big effort from Montpellier to get anything from this game, but if they can rediscover their best form, they still have the weapons to hurt Clermont, with Ranger and Nagusa providing firepower on the bench.

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Damien Chouly (c), 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Loic Jacquet, 19 Viktor Kolelishvili, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Camille Lopez, 22 Aurelie Rougerie, 23 Daniel Kotze

Montpellier: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Antoine Battut, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo (c), 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Robins Tchale Watchou, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Jonathan Pelissie, 21 Timoci Nagusa, 22 Rene Ranger, 23 Chris King

Date: Friday, August 29
Venue: Stade Marcel Michelin
Kick-off: 20.45 local (19.45 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant referees: Mathieu Delpy, Laurent Breil

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411