Planet Rugby

Preview: Perpignan v Exeter

11th November 2011 06:21


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After ten straight seasons in the Heineken Cup, Perpignan will be making only their fourth foray into the Amlin Challenge Cup when they face Exeter at Stade Aime Giral on Friday.

Perpignan, last season's Heineken Cup semi-finalists, return to Amlin Challenge Cup action after nearly a decade.

The Chiefs, who are in only their second season of European action of any kind, will experience the unique atmosphere of one of the great rugby citadels when they travel to Perpignan.

The French outfit have named a much-changed line-up for the clash. But despite resting a number of star players, Perpignan still have a number of stars to call upon.

Wales international James Hook makes his second start for the club at fly-half after an impressive debut, with France prop Nicolas Mas bolstering the pack.

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs have made just two changes to their starting XV..

With wing Sireli Naqelevuki facing around six weeks after breaking his right arm, centre Josh Tatupu will come into the midfield.

The other switch made by coach Rob Baxter comes in the pack, with flanker Ben White replacing Tom Johnson for only his third start of the season.

Johnson is named among the replacements, where he is joined by James Phillips and Phil Dollman.

"Going to Perpignan is difficult," said Baxter.

"The fact they have been losing a few games recently makes it more of an interesting challenge because you don't know how they will react.

"They will probably be relishing the opportunity of getting stuck into an English club. It will be a great experience and we're going to make the most of it."

The teams:

Perpignan: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 David Marty, 12 Gavin Hume, 11 Julien Candelon, 10 James Hook, 9 Florian Cazenave, 8 Henry Tuilagi, 7 Bertrand Guiry, 6 Grégory Le Corvec, 5 Robins Tchale Watchou, 4 Yoann Vivalda, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Jérôme Schuster.
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Kisi Pulu, 18 Danie Thiart, 19 Olivier Olibeau, 21 Ovidiu Tonita, 22 Kevin Boulogne, 23 Nicolas Laharrague.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Joseph Tatupu, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Patrick Phibbs, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Tom Johnson, 20 James Phillips, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Phil Dollman.

Date: Friday November 11
Venue: Stade Aime Giral
Kick-off: 19:00 (18:00 GMT)

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