Planet Rugby

Preview: La Rochelle v Clermont

07th April 2011 11:43

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Aurelien Rougerie against La Rochelle

Back to face La Rochelle: Aurélien Rougerie

The weekend's European knock-out clashes kick off in La Rochelle on Thursday when fellow French club Clermont arrive for their Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

It's the first of four all-French plays off this weekend as Top 14 champions Clermont have been given a Challenge Cup lifeline after losing out in a very tough Heineken Cup group.

The two-time Challenge Cup winners (1999 and 2007) welcome back skipper Aurélien Rougerie from suspension. He moved from centre to on the wing to fill the void left by absent Fijian Napolioni Nalaga. France scrum-half Morgan Parra has however been rested.

La Rochelle were shock winners when the two side's met in the Top 14 this season, winning 22- 14 at home.

Both sides are in trouble in their domestic league. La Rochelle look set for relegation while Clermont are struggling to qualify for the play-offs.

"We will approach this game with the same mindset that we took into the victory over Biarritz," said Clermont coach Vern Cotter.

"We will try to raise our game once again because we are aware that every match is a play-off game from now on."

The teams:

Stade Rochelais Atlantique: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Norman Ligairi, 13 Sefulu Gaugau, 12 Jerome Jacquet, 11 Florian Ninard, 10 Romain Lacoste, 9 Damien Neveu, 8 Quentin D'Aram de Valada. 7 Pierre Som, 6 Nicolas Djebaili, 5 Franck Jacob, 4 Robert Mohr [capt], 3 Stephane Clement, 2 Franco Pani, 1 Alexandre Bares
Replacements: 16 B Geledan, 17 P Toderasc, 18 J Garcia, 19 R Sazy, 20 T Soucaze, 21 B Dambielle, 22 M Dall'igna, 23 B Ferrou

ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Benoît Baby, 14 Aurélien Rougerie (c), 13 Tusiata Pisi, 12 Gonzalo Canale, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Brock James, 9 Kevin Senio, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Alexandre Audebert, 6 Julien Bardy, 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Martin Scelzo 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Lionel Faure.
Replacements:16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Clément Ric, 19 Sione Lauaki, 20 Raphael Chaume, 21 Ludovic Radoslavjevic , 22 Lavea , 23 Anthony Floch

Date: Thursday, April 7
Venue: Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle
Kick-off: 20.45 (18.46 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
Friday , December 5
Brive vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Rovigo18:30
Newcastle vs Stade Francais20:00
Saturday , December 6
Bucuresti vs Newport Gwent D'gonsTBC
Cardiff Blues vs London Irish15:15
Connacht vs Bayonne17:00
Bordeaux-Begles vs LOU Rugby19:45
Sunday , December 7
Edinburgh vs London Welsh14:00
Gloucester vs Zebre15:15
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Saturday , October 25
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Friday , October 24
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-Begles
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
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Pool 1
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1London Irish210
2Cardiff Blues210
3Rovigo20
4Grenoble20
Pool 2
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1Exeter26
2Connacht25
3La Rochelle24
4Bayonne24
Pool 3
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1Newcastle Falcons29
2Dragons26
3Stade Francais24
4Bucuresti21
Pool 4
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1Edinburgh28
2Bordeaux-Begles26
3LOU Rugby25
4London Welsh20
Pool 5
European Rugby Challenge Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Gloucester29
2Oyonnax24
3Zebre24
4Brive21