Planet Rugby

Preview: Montpellier v Toulon

18th January 2013 07:35

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delon armitage toulon v montpellier

Try against Montpellier last time: Delon Armitage

Montpellier need two points from their final pool game against Toulon at Stade Yves du Manoir to book a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

A draw or a loss by less than seven points while scoring four tries would be enough to book a place in the last eight.

Montpellier, who are in only their second season of Heineken Cup rugby, have won their last four Heineken Cup matches with their only defeat in the tournament this season the 16-37 loss in Toulon in Round 1.

Toulon have already qualified for the last eight but travel along the Mediteranen coast looking to secure a home draw in the quarter-finals.

Both sides come into this final game with two impressive victories under their belts, with Toulon beating the Cardiff Blues 45-25 in the last round and Montpellier beating Sale Sharks 27-6. The only other French club to have won at Montpellier in ERC competitions was Clermont at the old Stade Paul Sabathe in the 1997/98 European Conference.

Toulon have won all five Heineken Cup games this season - their only ERC loss in their last 11 games was 18-21 to Biarritz in last season's Amlin Challenge Cup final. Toulon have won two of their last three away games against French clubs in ERC competition. Toulon are the top metre-makers in the Heineken Cup, averaging 584m per match.

Montpellier are without injured skipper Fulgence Ouedraogo, who has a badly sprained, but will no doubt be motivated to honour the memory of forwards coach Eric Béchu, who passed away on Tuesday.

Toulon have the luxury of leaving international stars Gethin Jenkins, Carl Hayman, Mathieu Bastareaud, Juan-Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Joe van Niekerk on their bench.

Jonny Wilkinson captains the side from fly-half, meaning Frédéric Michalak is at scrum-half and Matt Giteau at inside centre.

The teams:

Montpellier: 15 Pierre Bérard, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Yoan Audrin, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Johnnie Beattie, 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Mamuka Gorgodze, 4 Mickael Demarco, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements:16 Rassie van Vuuren, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Barry Fa'amausili, 19 Aliki Fakate, 20 Thibaut Privat, 21 Kelian Galletier, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Lucas Amorosino.

Toulon:15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Alexis Palisson , 10 Jonny Wilkinson (cap), 9 Frédéric Michalak , 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Pierrick Gunther , 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Simon Shaw , 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Mickaël Ivaldi, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Carl Hayman, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Mathieu Bastareaud, 21 Juan-Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 22 Vincent Martin, 23 Joe van Niekerk.

Date: Saturday, 19 January
Venue: Stade Yves du Manoir
Kick-off: 16:40 (15:40 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

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