Planet Rugby

Preview: Biarritz v Connacht

13th December 2012 12:30

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Robbie Henshaw Connacht tackling Takudzwa Ngwenya Biarritz

Collision: Ngwenya and Henshaw

Imanol Harinodoquy returns to captain Biarritz at number eight for Friday's Heineken Cup rematch with Connacht.

Following Connacht's upset defeat in Galway in Round 3, Harinodoquy starts along with Damien Traille, Julien Peyrelongue, Jean-Pascal Barraque and Pelu Taele, with Magnus Lund named amongst the replacements.

Biarritz coaches Serge Milhas and Jack Issac were sacked following last Friday's loss, leaving manager Laurent Rodriguez and academy director Mathieu Rourre in charge of selection for this week's game.

The Top 14 outfit have become the great enigma of the Heineken Cup, proving they can cut it with the best sides in Europe but then being caught cold against teams they are expected to beat - like Connacht.

Biarritz know their chances of reaching a ninth quarter-final in European rugby's premier tournament are probably over for this season but a win would mean they could still make an impact on this Pool.

Meanwhile, Connacht coach Eric Elwood has named his side which shows only one change to the starting XV following last Friday's 22-14 win over the former Heineken Cup finalists.

Johnny O'Connor replaces Willie Faloon in the back row where he is joined by Andrew Browne and Eoin McKeon. Faloon was ruled out of selection earlier this week due to a fractured eye socket he incurred at the Sportsground on Friday.

Dan Parks will lead his side out tomorrow night as Connacht look for a historic French double. Parks is this season's leading points scorer on 48 points, bringing his all-time total to 403 points. The out-half is two points short of reaching the half-century mark in the Heineken Cup for the fifth time in eight seasons.

19 year old Robbie Henshaw, who this week signed a full contract with Connacht Rugby, will line out at full-back. On the bench, forwards Nathan White and George Naoupu make a welcome return to the squad having both missed out on last week's round three clash.

The teams:

Biarritz: 15 Iain Balshaw, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 12 Damien Traille, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Julien Peyrelongue, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy (c), 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Pelu Taele, 4 Erik Lund, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Benoit August, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 17 Lodewicus Blaauw, 18 Thomas Synaeghe, 19 Thibault Dubarry, 20 Magnus Lundy, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Seremaïa Burotu, 23 Marcelo Bosch.

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Jason Harris Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Dennis Buckley, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Danny Qualter, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Matthew Jarvis.

Date: Friday, December 14
Kick-off: 20:00
Venue: Parc des Sports Aguiléra
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Chris Williams (Wales)
Television Match Official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Preview
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058