Challenge Cup teams: Friday

Date published: November 12 2015

Two Challenge Cup games take place on Friday as Edinburgh host Grenoble, while Newcastle Falcons travel to Brive.

Edinburgh v Grenoble

Edinburgh will be led out by the player endearingly referred to by his team-mates as the ‘squadfather’, prop Alasdair Dickinson, who reaches his 100th cap for the club.

Meanwhile in the pack, at openside, John Hardie will be making his debut in the black and red jersey, after signing for the club last month following his Scotland debut at seven in the Rugby World Cup.

Loosehead Dickinson joins hooker Ross Ford and tighthead WP Nel in an unchanged front-row, with Anton Bresler and Alex Toolis maintaining their partnership from last week at lock.

Mike Coman captains the team again at blindside with Hardie making his debut at openside and Cornell Du Preez retaining the number eight jersey.

Meanwhile there is one change in the backs with Dougie Fife moving up from the bench to start at full-back. Damien Hoyland and Tom Brown stay on the right and left wings respectively while last week’s try scorer Will Helu and Matt Scott remain at outside and inside centre. The half-back pairing of Greig Tonks at fly-half and scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is also retained.

Head coach Alan Solomons said: "I'm delighted to see Alasdair reach his 100th cap for the club. This is his second period playing for Edinburgh Rugby and his commitment and work rate throughout have been outstanding.

"As one of the leaders in the club, he is a fantastic role model for our younger players both on and off the field.

"At the other end of the representative scale, I'm delighted that John Hardie will be making his club debut at Murrayfield this evening. He is a great young player and has fitted in really well in his short time with the Edinburgh squad."

Meanwhile, Irish scrum-half James Hart will lead Grenoble for their trip to the Scottish capital.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Dougie Fife, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Will Helu, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 John Hardie, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Alex Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford,1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 John Andress, 19 Nasi Manu, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Dean.

Grenoble: 15 Clement Gelin, 14 Tino Nemani, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Daniel Kilioni, 10 Gilles Bosch, 9 James Hart (c), 8 Dylan Hayes, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Mahamadou Diaby, 5 Mathias Marie, 4 James Percival, 3 Kevin Goze, 2 Loick Jammes, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Arnaud Heguy, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Walter Desmaison, 19 Ben Hand, 20 Steven Setephano, 21 Christophe Loustalot, 22 Xavier Mignot, 23 Lucas Dupont.

Date: Friday, November 13
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales) Jon Hardy (Wales)

Brive v Newcastle

Flanker Said Heriche will captain Brive for their Challenge Cup opener at home to the Falcons. 

Gaetan Germain, the top points scorer so far in this season's Top 14 with 100, is rested for the visit of Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Newcastle's side sees 19 of the 23 players count as England qualified as the club continues to embrace the competition as a platform to allow its home grown contingent an opportunity to shine.

After delivering assured performances against Georgia and in the Kings of the North competition at 15 and 10, Craig Willis makes his return to the starting line-up as the starting full-back.

Centres Chris Harris and Tom Penny reunite as a combination that was first tried, to pleasing effect in the European Challenge Cup wins over Bucharesti Wolves and the Dragons in rounds one and two for the tournament in 2014.

Pace on the wings is provided by former England 7s star Marcus Watson and Argentine international Belisario Agulla, who with further time to integrate with his new club and build a rapport with his new team-mates, will be keen to build on a solid debut last month.

Familiar faces Micky Young and Tom Catterick line up as the starting half-backs, with fly-half Catterick in particular having fond memories of a competition that saw him establish himself in the number 10 shirt last season.

A new look front-row sees Alex Rogers, George McGuigan and Taione Vea come together for the first time while the second-row sees Sean Robinson, another of the club's young English talents who announced himself on this stage last season and Kane Thompson, provide strength and agility in both the tight and the loose.

Across the back-row, Richard Mayhew and his abrasive, physical game takes up position on the blindside flank, while livewire Dan Temm starts on the openside.

Completing the pack, Cumbrian Mark Wilson makes a welcome return from injury and captains the side on what will be his 138th appearance.

The teams:

Brive: 15 Romain Sola, 14 Elia Radikedike, 13 Atila Septar, 12 Christopher Tuatara, 11 Benito Masilevu, 10 Nicolas Bézy, 9 Bastien Duhalde, 8 William Whetton, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Said Hireche (c), 5 Wilhem Steenkamp, 4 Victor Lebas, 3 Giorgi Jgenti, 2 Thomas Acquier, 1 Damien Lavergne.
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Ribes, 17 Goderzi Shvelidze, 18 Yusuf Tuncer, 19 Peet Marais, 20 Hugues Briatte, 21 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 22 Benjamin Petre, 23 Anderson Neisen.

Newcastle: 15 Craig Willis, 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Chris Harris, 11 Belisario Agulla, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Michael Young, 8 Mark Wilson (c), 7 Daniel Temm, 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Sean Robinson, 3 Taione Vea, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Alex Rogers.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Calum Green, 21 Ruki Tipuna, 22 Dan Marshall, 23 Callum Chick.

Date: Friday, November 13
Venue: Stade Amédée-Domenech 
Kick-off: 19:30 local (18:30 GMT)
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Martyn Lewis (Wales), Kelvin Shorte (Wales)