Challenge Cup teams: Thursday

Date published: October 19 2016

Three fixtures take place in the Challenge Cup on Thursday, with the Pool 4 clash between Bath and Bristol at the Recreation Ground the pick of the matches.

The other action sees La Rochelle host Bayonne while Stade Français tackle Timisoara Saracens in Pools 1 and 5 respectively.

Bath v Bristol

Form: This will be the second time the West Country rivals have met in European competition. Bath saw off Bristol in the 2007 Challenge Cup quarter-final by 51-12. Bath come into this match having won 24 of their previous 25 home Challenge Cup matches (L1). Bristol have tasted defeat in five of their previous six Challenge Cup fixtures against Premiership opposition, losing the last four matches. Bristol’s Tom Varndell needs one try to become the all-time leading try scorer in the Challenge Cup (currently 20). Rhys Priestland scored 20 points in Bath’s win in Pau last weekend – more than any other player in Round 1.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Jeff Williams, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Aled Brew; 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Will Homer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Michael Van Vuuren, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Shaun Knight, 18 Kane Palma Newport, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Dan Bowden, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Bristol: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Jack Tovey, 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jonathan Fisher, 6 Mitch Eadie, 5 James Phillips, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jack O’Connell, 18 James Hall, 19 Giorgi Nemsadze, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Wallace

Date: Thursday, October 20
Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Joy Neville (Ireland) Clare Daniels (England)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Stade Français v Timisoara Saracens

Form: Stade Français have won 17 of their last 19 home Challenge Cup matches (L2). The previous eight meetings between Romanian opposition and Stade Français in the Challenge Cup have all resulted in victories for the French outfit. Stade have lost their last two Challenge Cup matches but have never lost three in a row in the competition. This will be Timisoara’s first away game in the competition. Only once in 19 attempts has a Romanian club won away against Top 14 opposition in the tournament (Bucharest Wolves v Toulon in 2006).

The teams:

Stade Français: 15 Djibril Camara, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Théo Millet, 12 Jules Plisson, 11 Ratu Alipate Ratini, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Clement Daguin, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Pascal Papé, 4 Mathieu De Giovanni, 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 Laurent Panis, 1 Zurabi Zhvania
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Emmanuel Felsina, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Raphael Lakafia, 21 Arthur Coville, 22 Meyer Bosman, 23 Faraj Fartass

Timisoara Saracens: 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Fonovai Tangimana, 13 Brian Sefanaia, 12 Jack Umaga, 11 Stephen Shennan, 10 Jody Rose, 9 Valentin Calafeteanu, 8 Sandu Stelian Burcea, 7 Vasile Rus, 6 Randall Morrison, 5 Valentin Poparlan, 4 Ionut Muresan, 3 Edmund Aholelei, 2 Andrei Radoi, 1 Gigi Militaru
Replacements: 16 Eugen Capatina, 17 Sione Taupaki, 18 Samuel Maris, 19 Marian Gorcioaia, 20 Madalin Lemnaru, 21 Daniel Vladut Zaharia, 22 Daniel Ianus, 23 Tevita Manumua

Date: Thursday, October 20
Venue: Stade Jean Bouin
Kick-off: 20:00 local (18:00 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Assistant Referees: John Meredith (England), Peter Allan (England)

La Rochelle v Bayonne

Form: La Rochelle continued with their superb start to the season when they thrashed Treviso 41-10 in Italy to send an early statement to their Pool 1 rivals. La Rochelle have only been beaten twice in 10 matches and are currently in second place on the Top 14 table. By contrast, Bayonne have suffered contrasting fortunes and are currently at the bottom of the Top 14 standings. They suffered a 47-27 home defeat to Gloucester in their Challenge Cup opener last weekend. These two sides have already met this season, when La Rochelle claimed a hard-fought 34-17 victory at home.

The teams:

La Rochelle: 15 Charles Bouldoire, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Elliot Roudil, 12 Kini Murimurivalu, 11 Steve Barry, 10 Brock James, 9 Anthony Fuertes, 8 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 7 Romain Sazy, 6 Jason Eaton, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Romana Graham, 3 Luc Mousset, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Mike Corbel
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Vincent Pelo, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Leo Cedaro, 20 Afa Amosa, 21 Arthur Retiere, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Botia Veivuke

Bayonne: 15 Ryan Tongia, 14 Martin Laveau, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 Bastien Fuster, 10 Lucas Meret, 9 Bastien Duhalde,8 Pieter Jan Van Lill, 7 Dion Evrard Oulai, 6 Jean-Jo Marmouyet, 5 Pablo Huete, 4 Guillaume Ducat, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Gregory Arganese, 1 Jérôme Schuster
Replacements: 16 David Menage, 17 Adrien Bordenave, 18 Richard Choirat, 19 Adam Jaulhac, 20 Guillaume Rouet, 21 Maile Mamao, 22 Julien Jane, 23 Jean-Blaise Lespinasse

Date: Thursday, October 20
Venue: Stade Marcel Deflandre
Kick-off: 20:45 local (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England), Wayne Falla (England)
TMO: Keith Lewis (England)