Planet Rugby

Preview: Toulon v Montpellier

12th October 2012 10:04

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Frederic Michalak passes Top 14 Montpellier vs Toulon

Scrum-half for Toulon: Fred Michalak

Heineken Cup title contenders Toulon kick off their campaign with a Mediterranean derby against Montpellier on Sunday.

RCT have rolled out all their big guns in a starting XV that features Frederic Michalak at scrum-half inside fly-half Jonny Wilkinson.

Wales prop Gethin Jenkins must settle for a place on the bench, where he is one of five internationals riding pine.

Matt Giteau, Carl Hayman, Delon Armitage, Andrew Sheridan, Bakkies Botha and Chris Masoe all start.

Club captain Joe van Niekerk and Pumas skipper Juan Fernandez Lobbe do not feature in the matchday 22.

Botha said he was delighted to be appearing on the European club stage.

"It's a great challenge for me but also for the team to test ourselves against the best," said the veteran Springbok lock.

"It's the highest of the high in rugby. When you see the level of the Top 14 and only six teams qualify for the European Cup, you quickly understand that this competition is particularly elevated."

Montpellier welcome back Lucas Amorosino while Scottish international Johnnie Beattie starts at number eight.

French internationals Fulgence Ouedraogo and François Trhinh-Duc have been rested.

Heineken Cup betting odds

The teams:

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Vincent Martin, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 David Smith, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements:16 Mickael Ivaldi, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Virgile Bruni, 19 Mathieu Bastareaud, 20 Benjamin Lapeyre, 21 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 22 Simon Shaw, 23 Davit Kubriashvili.

Montpellier: 15 Lucas Amorosino, 14 Yoan Audrin, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Yohann Artru, 10 Ilian Perraux 9 Julien Tomas, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Rémy Martin, 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Mickael Demarco, 4 Drickus Hancke, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Mickael Ladhuie, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements:16 Agustin Creevy, 18 George Jgenti, 19 Aliki Fakate, 20 Mamuka Gorgodze, 21 Benoit Paillaugue, 22 Pierre Bérard, 23 Timoci Nagusa.

Date: Sunday, October 14
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 BST)
Venue: Stade Felix-Mayol
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce, Paul Dix
Television match official: Graham Hughes
Timekeeper: Yves Bressy (France)
Assessor: Les Peard (Wales)
Citing commissioner: Ken Pattinson (England)

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