Preview: Champions Cup, Saturday

Date published: December 7 2018

There are five matches scheduled for Saturday in the Champions Cup with Wasps hosting Toulouse at the Ricoh Arena in the final contest of the day.

Lyon v Glasgow Warriors

Lyon head coach Pierre Mignoni has chosen to field a strong XV against Glasgow Warriors, despite going into Round Three of the Champions Cup with two losses to their name.

Julien Puricelli captains the side from blindside flanker and is joined in the back-row by Australian Liam Gill and Englishman Carl Fearns.

Albertus Buckle, Mickael Ivaldi and Hamza Kaabèche form a powerful front-row unit while Felix Lambey and Manuel Carizza offer plenty of go-forward at lock.

In the backs, Jonathan Pelissie and Lionel Beauxis combine at half-back, with Alexis Palisson, Toby Arnold and Noa Nakaitaci providing the speed out wide.

Meanwhile, Dave Rennie has made 12 changes to his starting XV as Glasgow return to Heineken Champions Cup action.

Rennie used last weekend’s victory over the Scarlets as an opportunity to rest several players and welcomes a dozen internationals back to his matchday 23, as well as captain Callum Gibbins.

Adam Ashe is rewarded with his excellent form with a place in the back-row alongside Gibbins, with Matt Fagerson also returning.

Both Rob Harley and Jonny Gray missed Glasgow’s famous victory over the Scarlets last weekend and are brought into the engine room for the trip to France.

Oli Kebble’s dominant performance off the bench at Scostoun last weekend made headlines and he starts this Saturday. D’Arcy Rae keeps his spot at tight-head and they will both prop down either side of the returning Fraser Brown.

It’s a brand new back-three. Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour come in after impressing in Scotland shirts this Autumn, while DTH van der Merwe is back having helped Canada qualify for the Rugby World Cup last month.

Pete Horne starts alongside Nick Grigg in midfield, while his brother George is joined at half-back by Adam Hastings.

Ali Price and Huw Jones are two more Scotland internationals who will look to make an impact off the bench when called upon.

The teams:

Lyon: 15 Alexis Palisson, 14 Toby Arnold, 13 Rudi Wulf, 12 Adrien Seguret, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Jonathan Pélissié, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Julien Puricelli (c), 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Hamza Kaabèche, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Albertus Buckle
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Kévin Yaméogo, 19 Hendrik Roodt, 20 Patrick Sobela, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Pierre-Louis Barassi, 23 Jean-Marc Doussain

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 6 Adam Ashe, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Rob Harley, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Ali Price, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Niko Matawalu

Venue: Matmut Stadium de Gerland
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald (England), Wayne Falla (England)
Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)

Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester

Having opted last week to rest all of the Exeter players who had been away on Test duty during the November internationals, it’s little surprise that director of rugby Rob Baxter welcomes many of them back into the ranks.

In the pack, Ben Moon and Sam Skinner are both added, while behind Henry Slade is another notable inclusion alongside Ollie Devoto. Other changes to the side that lost to Harlequins see Gareth Steenson return at fly-half, while Santiago Cordero is added on the right wing.

For Gloucester, hooker Jaco Visagie will make his first start for the club as Johan Ackermann makes six changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s match away at Exeter.

It’s the first leg of the traditional European December double-header, and the second time that the Cherry and Whites have played at Sandy Park in a fortnight following the recent Premiership fixture.

Visagie has featured off the bench in the last two games, but will make his full debut in one of three changes to the pack. Gerbrandt Grobler returns to the second-row to partner Tom Savage and Jake Polledri will start at openside flanker.

In the backline, Matt Banahan, Tom Hudson and Henry Trinder all return to the starting line-up.

The teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Alex Cuthbert, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Don Armand, 6 Sam Skinner, 5 Dave Dennis, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tom Francis, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ian Whitten

Gloucester: 15 Tom Hudson, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin , 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Jason Woodward

Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
Television match official: Éric Gauzins (France)

BT Sport brings you the moments that matter with exclusively live action from every Heineken Champions Cup match this season. Watch Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester on BT Sport 2 this Saturday from 12:30. Watch on TV and via the award winning BT Sport App.

Bath vs Leinster

Charlie Ewels will captain Bath for this Saturday’s Champions Cup tie against Leinster at the Rec.

Ewels starts in the second-row alongside Dave Attwood, who returns to the starting line-up to face the reigning European champions. Nathan Catt and Henry Thomas start either side of Tom Dunn in the front-row.

Tom Ellis and Sam Underhill start at blindside and openside flanker respectively, with South African international Francois Louw switching to number eight to complete the back-row.

Scrum-half Will Chudley partners James Wilson in the half-back combination, with Jamie Roberts coming back into the fold at inside centre. Roberts will be joined by Jackson Willison in the midfield for the third round of the competition.

Joe Cokanasiga continues on the left wing, with the England international the club’s top scorer with five tries already to his name this season. Semesa Rokoduguni starts on the opposite flank, with Ruaridh McConnochie at full-back.

Fly-half Freddie Burns has been ruled out of the game with a foot injury.

For Leinster, there is a return for a host of Irish internationals and a welcome return from injury for a number of players.

Rob Kearney starts at full-back with Jordan Larmour on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.

At centre, Noel Reid partners Garry Ringrose, while in the half-backs Luke McGrath starts at nine with captain Johnny Sexton outside him at 10.

In the front-row, Cian Healy, Seán Cronin and Tadhg Furlong are named with Devin Toner and James Ryan completing the tight five.

In the back-row, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and the fit again Dan Leavy complete the pack.

On the bench, Carlow’s Ed Byrne is in line to make his European debut. The 25-year-old, who made his Leinster debut in 2014, has been blighted by injury and missed 28 months with two separate knee injuries.

The loosehead prop has though been on a good run of form over the last 12 months with 23 games played in that time.

Rory O’Loughlin is also back from injury to take his place amongst the replacements.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Ruaridh McConnochie, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 James Wilson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Cooper Vuna, 23 Alex Davies

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Noel Reid, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Dan Leavy, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rory O’Loughlin

Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Vincent Blasco Baqué (France)
Television match official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

Toulon vs Montpellier

Toulon have named Hugo Bonneval, JP Pietersen and Filipo Nakosi as their back three, while Malakai Fekitoa and Julian Savea form the centre pairing. Anthony Belleau and Eric Escande make up the half-back combination.

Raphael Lakafia, Liam Messam and Stephane Onambele combine in the loose trio, while Juandre Kruger and Mamuka Gorgodze line up in the second-row. Emerick Setiano, Bastien Soury and Xavier Chiocci scrum down in the front-row.

Meanwhile, Montpellier have named Frans Steyn, Timoci Nagusa and Henry Immelman as the back three, while Vincent Martin and Arthur Vincent form the centre pairing. Johan Goosen and Enzo Sanga are the half-backs.

Kelian Galletier, Yacouba Camara and Fulgence Ouedraogo are the loose trio, while Julien Le Devedec and Nico Janse van Rensburg lock down in the second-row. Jannie du Plessis, Vincent Giudicelli and Usha Tcheishvili make up the front-row.

The teams:

Toulon: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Raphael Lakafia, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Stephane Onambele, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Mamuka Gorgodze, 3 Emerick Setiano, 2 Bastien Soury, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Jean Baptiste Gros, 18 Marcel Van Der Merwe, 19 Swan Rebbadj, 20 Louis Carbonel, 21 Jean Monribot, 22 Yoann Cottin, 23 Corentin Vernet

Montpellier: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Henry Immelman, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Enzo Sanga, 8 Kelian Galletier, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo (c), 5 Julien Le Devedec, 4 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 3 Jannie Du Plessis, 2 Vincent Giudicelli, 1 Usha Tcheisvhili
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Daniel Brennan, 19 Kevin Kornath, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Gabriel N’gandebe, 22 Jan Serfontein, 23 Jacques du Plessis

Venue: Stade Felix-Mayol
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson (England), Simon McConnell (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

Wasps v Toulouse

Josh Bassett, Tom Cruse and Thomas Young all return to the Wasps starting line-up as the men in Black and Gold prepare for an all-important Champions Cup clash with Toulouse at Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

Bassett returns on the left wing after being rested while Cruse (ribs) and Young (hamstring and calf) recover from knocks which kept them out of action last weekend.

Bassett is joined by Ross Neal and Springbok Willie le Roux in the back three while skipper Elliot Daly lines up with Michael Le Bourgeois in the centres. Lima Sopoaga and Craig Hampson form the half-back combination.

Cruse is joined in the front-row by Ben Harris and Kieran Brookes while Will Rowlands and Kearnan Myall form the second-row partnership.

Young, who has made the most turnovers in the competition this season with seven in two games, partners England pair Brad Shields and Nathan Hughes in the back-row.

Ashley Johnson (knee) and Will Stuart (neck) recover from injuries to return to the match day 23.

Meanwhile, Toulouse have named Thomas Ramos, Yoann Huget and Cheslin Kolbe as their back three while Sofiane Guitoune and Maxime Mermoz form the centre pairing. Zack Holmes and Antoine Dupont are the half-back combination.

In the forwards, Jerome Kaino, Rynhardt Elstadt and Francois Cros make up the loose trio while Joe Tekori and Carl Axtens line up in the second-row. Maks van Dyk, Julien Marchand and Lucas Pointud complete the front-row

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ross Neal, 13 Elliot Daly (c), 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Craig Hampson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Ben Harris
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Will Porter, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Juan de Jongh

Toulouse: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Carl Axtens, 3 Maks Van Dyk, 2 Julien Marchand (c), 1 Lucas Pointud
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Clément Castets, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Gillian Galan, 20 Louis Madaule, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Arthur Bonneval

Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Barrie O’Connell (Ireland)
Television match official: Olly Hodges (Ireland)