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Preview: Leicester v Montpellier

06th December 2013 08:42

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Rene Ranger Montpellier offload

At 13: Rene Ranger

Montpellier have named former All Black Rene Ranger at outside centre for Sunday's Heineken Cup clash with Leicester at Welford Road.

Having made two appearances on the wing, Ranger makes his first start in French club's midfield along side Thomas Combezou.

Montpellier also welcome back Fijian international wing Timoci Nagusa from international duty in a much-changed side.

Former Springbok centre Wynand Olivier is on the wing but there is no place in the matchday 22 for his countryman Robert Ebersohn.

Argentine prop Maximiliano Bustos starts at tighthead while Jonathan Pélissié is preferred to Benoit Paillaugue at scrum-half.

Anthony Tuitavake, Nicolas Mas, Robins Tchale-Watchou and Alexandre Bias are all notable absentees from the travelling squad.

Meanwhile, Vereniki Goneva and Ed Slater return from injury to join the Leicester Tigers squad.

Fijian international Goneva reclaims a spot at centre alongside Dan Bowden, with Adam Thompstone reverting to his usual place on the wing, while Slater is among the replacements.

Ryan Lamb, also on his return from injury, joins David Mélé and Blaine Scully as the backs replacements.

"We've come through with some good results recently and there is a good spirit in the squad but we know we're going to have to raise the bar again," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"Montpellier have a very good team, they are very combative and physical, and have a good backline too. This is a good challenge for us and we're going to need players on top of their game."

Montpellier are making a first-ever trip to Welford Road with both sides winning one of their open two fixtures in Pool 5. The return is in the south of France next Sunday.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mélé 22 Blaine Scully, 23 Ryan Lamb.

Montpellier: 15 Anthony Floch, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Thomas Combezou , 11 Yoan Audrin, 10 Francois Trinh Duc, 9 Jonathan Pélissié, 8 John Beattie, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Kelian Galletier, 5 Mickael De Marco, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Charles Geli, 1 Naama Leleimalefaga.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Paea Fa'anunu, 19 Thibaut Privat, 20 Tulou, 21 Benoit Paillaugue, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Pierre Berard

Date: Sunday 8th December
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 1500 (local and GMT)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton, John Carvill (both Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore

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