Planet Rugby

Preview: Montpellier v Leicester

11th December 2013 09:50

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Controller: Ben Youngs

Niall Morris and Thomas Waldrom return to the Leicester Tigers line-up for Sunday's Heineken Cup Pool 5 clash in Montpellier.

Tigers are making a first-ever trip to the Stade Yves du Manoir, where the hosts have lost just once this season.

Morris comes in on the wing, while Waldrom takes the number eight shirt in the only changes to the team that started last Sunday's 41-32 win over the French side at Welford Road.

"I thought it was a good performance last weekend, with some good tries and a great attitude to play throughout the team," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"Montpellier also showed just dangerous they can be and there are certainly parts of the game we can improve on."

Meanwhile, Montpellier have made 13 changes to the side that lost in Leicester last week as former Springbok centre Wynand Olivier starts in the number 12 jersey.

France international fly-half François Trinh Duc is absent from the starting XV but Nicolas Mas returns at tighthead.

The only survivors from last weekend's starting line-up are left wing Yoan Audrin and flank Mamuka Gorgodze.

Leicester's bonus-point victory last weekend at Welford Road kept them in touch with Pool 5 leaders Ulster, although the Irish side have the advantage of facing easier opposition again in Treviso this weekend.

Denying Montpellier a losing bonus point could also prove crucial, after replacement number ten Ryan Lamb tucked away a drop goal after 80 minutes to leave the French club well adrift of the top two.

Failing to defeat Leicester at home will end Montpellier's hopes of advancing to the knockout stages, with the damage arguably done in their Round 1 loss to Ulster.

The number of changes to Montpellier's side indicate that their immediate focus may lie in the Top 14, with a trip to Toulon on the horizon next weekend.

The teams:

Montpellier: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Yohann Artru, 10 Enzo Selponi, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Robins Tchale Watchou, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Paea Fa'anunu, 19 Johnnie Beattie, 20 Mickael Demarco, 21 Eric Escande, 22 Thomas Combezou, 23 Anthony Floch.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 David Mele, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Ryan Lamb.

Date: Sunday 15th December
Venue: Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Kick-off: 1600 local, 1500 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell, Wayne Davies (both Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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