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Preview: Racing Métro v Clermont

11th October 2013 12:30

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Aurelien Rougerie Clermont 2013

Back at 13: Aurelien Rougerie

Clermont have made 11 changes to their starting XV for Sunday's all-French Heineken Cup clash with Racing Métro in Paris.

Last season's losing finalists have reverted back to their first-choice backline after sending a somewhat experimental attack to Toulon last weekend.

Having played on the wing last week, skipper Aurélien Rougerie returns to the outside centre berth as he partners Wesley Fofana in one of the deadliest midfield combinations in world rugby.

Try-scoring machine Napolioni Nalaga returns from injury on the left wing, meaning that former All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu switches to the right. Lee Byrne starts at full-back as Jean-Marcel Buttin drops to the bench.

French international Morgan Parra also makes a timely return after sitting out the clash with the defending European champions.

In the pack, flanks Julien Bardy and Julien Bonnaire replace Gerhard Vosloo and Julien Kazubek. Scotland second row Nathan Hines also starts ahead of Loic Jacquet.

Up front, props Thomas Domingo and Davit Zirakashvili return to form an all-international front row with Benjamin Kayser.

Meanwhile, Racing have been boosted by the return of their southern hemisphere internationals after Rugby Championship duty.

There are seven changed to the starting XV that was shocked by minnow Grenoble at home in the Top 14 last week.

Argentina internationals Juan Martin Hernandez and Juan Imhoff come in at inside centre and wing respectively while former France centre Fabrice Estebanez returns at 13.

Springbok lock Juandre Kruger is back to form an all-South African second row with Francois van der Merwe.

Former Northampton props Brian Mujati and Soane Tonga'uiha are notably absentees from the matchday squad.

The teams:

Racing Métro:15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Marc Andreu, 13 Fabrice Estebanez, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Jacques Cronje, 7 Antoine Battut, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (capt), 1 Davit Khinchagishvili
Replacements:16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Julien Brugnaut, 19 Fabrice Metz, 20 Bernard Le Roux, 21 Laurent Magnaval, 22 Henry Chavancy, 23 Benjamin Dambielle.

Clermont: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Aurélien Rougerie (c), 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Loic Jacquet, 20 Gerhard Vosloo, 21 Thierry Lacrampe, 22 Benson Stanley, 23 Jean-Marcel Buttin.

Date: Sunday, October 13
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 BST)
Venue: Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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