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Preview: Perpignan v Clermont

28th November 2013 12:51

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Clermont s Fidji winger Napolioni Nalaga C v Perpignan

Not playing for Fiji: Napolioni Nalaga

Injury-struck Clermont travel to Perpignan on Friday seeking just their second win away from home this season at Stade Aimé Giral.

Les Jaunards sit level at the top of the standings with Toulon thanks to their brilliant record on home soil but have not won on the road since beating Biarritz on the opening day of the season. Historically, they have won just three times in 14 visits to Stade Aimé Giral.

The Auvergne side were in superb form last weekend when they trounced Racing Metro 47-14 at home, but the club injury list makes sorry reading ahead of the Perpignan trip.

The biggest loss could be at scrum-half where Morgan Parra is facing up to 12 weeks on the sidelines after damaging knee ligaments playing for France against South Africa last Saturday. Loose forward Alexandre Lapandry is out for a month with seriously sprained knee.

Clermont will also be without centre Benson Stanley, who has a pulled stomach muscle, as well as Wesley Fofana and Sitiveni Sivivatu are also crocked.

On the plus side Fiji have cleared winger Napolioni Nalaga for club duty. Scottish lock Nathan Hines is also back in the reckoning.

Perpignan, coming off a 15-9 loss to Toulon, also have injury concerns surrounding back rower Bertrand Guiry (calf muscle) and wing Richard Haughton (groin).

International winger Sofiane Guitoune, who was a standout performer for France against Tonga and South Africa, said Perpignan needed a win on Friday if they were to harbour realistic hopes of reaching the play-offs.

"There is no choice for us. Either we defeat Clermont and we are into the top six in the table by the end of the first half of the season," he said.

"Or we lose and it's the slippery slope for us after that."

More to follow...

The teams:

USA Perpignan: 15 James Hook, 14 Sofiane Guitoune, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 David Marty, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Alasdair Strokosch, 6 Justin Purll, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Giorge Jgenti, 2 Romain Terrain, 1 Sebastien Taofifenua,
Replacements: 16 Maxime Delonca, 17 Kisi Pulu, 18 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 19 Karl Chateau, 20 Tom Ecochard, 21 Watisoni Votu, 22 Joffrey Michel, 23 Paulica Ion.

ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Naipolioni Nalaga, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Noa Nakaitaci, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 Michael Delany, 9 Thierry Lacrampe, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Gerhard Vosloo, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Clement Ric, 2 Benoit Cabello, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Jamie Cudmore, 19 Damien Chouly, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Brock James, 22 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 23 Vincent Debaty.

Date: Friday, November 29
Venue: Stade Aimé Giral, Perpignan
Kick-off: 20.45 local (19.45 GMT)
Referee: Sébastien Minery

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1Toulon2677
2Montpellier2676
3Clermont Auvergne2673
4Toulouse2669
5Racing Metro Paris2669