Challenge Cup Teams: Saturday, Sunday

Date published: November 20 2015

The Challenge Cup's second round action continues and there are six matches taking place in various venues throughout Europe.

Zebre v Worcester

Zebre have made six changes to their starting line-up for this clash, after last weekend's loss away to Gloucester.

There are two changes in the back-line, with Gonzalo Garcia replacing Matteo Pratichetti at inside centre and Carlo Canna taking over from Edoardo Padovani at fly-half.

In the forwards, Dris van Schalkwyk comes in at number eight for Filippo Ferrarini while George Biagi and Quintin Geldenhuys form a new second-row partnership.

They replace Marco Bortolami and Valerio Bernabo respectively and Biagi also takes over the captaincy from Bortolami. The final change is in the front-row where Andrea Manici is preferred to Tommaso D'Apice at hooker.

Meanwhile, Worcester flanker Sam Betty will become a club centurion when he runs out in this encounter

The 29-year-old will line up on the openside for the feat, four years after joining Worcester from Cornish Pirates.

Warriors will be looking to make it two wins from two in Parma and director of rugby Dean Ryan will hand full debuts to Georgian international hooker Jaba Bregvadze and Academy prop Gareth Milasinovich.

JB Bruzulier returns from his loan spell with Clermont to captain the side at scrum-half, while Alex Grove and Perry Humphreys also come into the backline.

In the forward pack Dan Sanderson makes his first appearance since helping Warriors win the British and Irish Cup in April, while Marco Mama comes in at number eight as Warriors make seven changes to the side which beat La Rochelle last weekend.

Warriors head coach Carl Hogg said: "We benefited from the Aviva A League and B&I Cup last year and we want to be competitive across the board and create healthy competition for places this time round.

"Zebre are strong at home and have won a couple of games in the PRO 12 but we want to create a collective performance and individuals can benefit off the back of that.

"Zebre have a number of Italian internationals with a lot of experience so they'll be tough to beat. 

"We won't underestimate them by any means but we know we can step-up our game from last weekend. 

"We know we can get much better and it's an opportunity to impose our game on them and attack the way we want to. 

"We have every intention of going out there and playing. We hope it will be a bit drier and we'll get the opportunity to express ourselves as a team."

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Guglielmo Palazzani, 14 Dion Berryman, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Jacopo Sarto, 5 George Biagi (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Andrea Lovotti. 
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Tommaso Boni, 23 Edoardo Padovani.

Worcester: 15 Ben Howard, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Alex Grove, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 JB Bruzulier (c), 8 Marco Mama, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Carl Kirwan, 5 Darren O'Shea, 4 Dan Sanderson, 3 Gareth Milasinovich, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Ryan Bower. 
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Tom Biggs.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Tual Trainini (France)
Assistant Referees: Salem Attalah (France), Vincent Blasco Baque (France)

Sale v Pau

Magnus Lund captains Sale who make multiple changes to the starting XV from last weekend, including returns for Will Addison, Bryn Evans and TJ Ioane.

Addison lines up on the left wing while ex All Black Evans packs down in the second-row with Andrei Ostrikov and Ioane slots in at openside flank.

Speaking ahead of the game Sale boss Steve Diamond said: "We've lost two games now, so we've got to get back on track now.

"Pau are a good side and well coached by Simon Mannix, a former teammate of mine at Sale FC. 

"We've watched a bit of them and they seem to be throwing the ball around a bit, so it bodes well for a good game. 

"He's got his stamp on the side through the way they plan, it's structured and they'll be a real test for us."

Meanwhile, openside flanker Jean Bouilhou leads Pau who are playing in their opening fixture of the competition.

Veteran Fijian Sereli Bobo starts on the right wing and forms an exciting back-three alongside full-back Charly Malie and left wing Elijah Niko.

Jale Vatubua and Watisoni Votu line up in midfield while fly-half Santiago Fernandez and scrum-half Thibault Daubagna are the half-backs.

Up front, Bouilhou is joined in the back-row by fellow flanker Loic Bernad and James Coughlan. Daniel Ramsay and Claude Dry start in the bolier room while the front-row comprises Giorgi Natsarashvili, Quentin Lespiaucq Brettes and Chris King.

The teams:

Sale: 15 Michael Haley, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Will Addison, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Vili Fihaki, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Magnus Lund (c), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison. 
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 James Flynn, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Jon Mills, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Tim Jeffers, 23 Neville Edwards.

Pau: 15 Charly Malie, 14, Sereli Bobo, 13 Jale Vatubua, 12 Watisoni Votu, 11 Elijah Niko, 10 Santiago Fernandez, 9 Thibault Daubagna, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Jean Bouilhou (c), 6 Loic Bernad, 5 Daniel Ramsay, 4 Claude Dry, 3 Giorgi Natsarashvili, 2 Quentin Lespiaucq Brettes, 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Vincent Campo, 17. Jérémy Hurou, 18 Geoffrey Moise, 19 Josefa Ulago Domolailai, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Samuel Marques, 22 Mosese Ratuvou, 23 Pierre Dupouy.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)

Castres v Dragons

Castres face a tricky assignment in their opening fixture against the Dragons who are on a high after beating Sale last weekend.

The French side will be led by inside Romain Cabannes who forms a midfield combination with Thomas Combezou. Geoffrey Palis starts at full-back while Romain Martial and Remi Grosso are on the wings.

Up front, Johnnie Beattie (number eight), Alexandre Bias (openside flank) and Piula Faasalele make up the back-row while Victor Moreaux and Christophe Samson are the locks.

Hooker Marc-Antoine Rallier and props Yohan Montes and Saimone Taumoepeau pack down in the front-row.

Meanwhile, Dragons boss Lyn Jones has made three changes to his starting line-up. The back three remain in place with full-back Carl Meyer joining wings Ashton Hewitt and Nick Scott. 

The centre pairing also remains unchanged with Adam Hughes and Adam Warren being selected, with Dorian Jones and Sarel Pretorius retaining their places in the half-backs.

The front-row has one change made to it as Phil Price gets the nod and joins hooker Elliot Dee and prop Shaun Knight. 

The second-row also has one change made to it as Matthew Screech moves from the bench to join skipper Rynard Landman. 

The back-row sees the inclusion of flanker Nick Crosswell, who replaces Lewis Evans after he sustained a calf injury during the Sale Sharks match. Crosswell joins Ollie Griffiths and Ed Jackson in that trio.

The bench has four changes made to it as both Brok Harris (calf) and Taulupe Faletau (knee) fail late fitness tests.

The teams:

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Romain Cabannes (c), 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Julien Seron, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Victor Moreaux, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Yohan Montes, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Saimone Taumoepeau.
Replacements: 16 Mathieu Bonello, 17 Mihaita Lazar, 18 Lucas Martinez, 19 Alex Tulou, 20 Theo Hannoyer, 21 Julien Dumora, 22 Remi Lamerat, 23 Antoine Dupont.

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Nick Scott; 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman (c), 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Ross Wardle.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Stade Pierre Antoine
Kick-off: 17:00 local (16:00 GMT)
Referee: Gary Conway (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Barrie O'Connell (Ireland)

Connacht v Brive

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made 13 front-line changes from the team that started against Enisei-STM last weekend. 

Bundee Aki and last week’s try scorer Rory Parata are retained in the backline while Jack Carty, who was also in Russia, is handed the reins at fly-half. The Athlone man is joined by Ireland international Kieran Marmion at scrum-half.

At full-back, Tiernan O’Halloran is named to captain the side for the second time this season while Robbie Henshaw and Danie Poolman also return to boost the side.

Up front, Jason Harris-Wright will make his season debut after returning from long-term injury and the hooker is joined in the front -row by international props Ronan Loughney and Nathan White, who makes his 50th appearance for the province.

Having lined out for the Eagles in the British and Irish Cup last week, Ben Marshall returns from injury to start in the second-row alongside Galway man Andrew Browne. The back-row is made up of Eoghan Masterson, Player of the Month for October Nepia Fox-Matamua, and Eoin McKeon.

The entire bench for this weekend were involved in the 31-14 win over Enisei-STM six days ago.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Lam said: "With injuries to players, we knew before the trip to Russia that we would need guys to double up for rounds 1 and 2 and we were prepared for that. 

"While we weren’t prepared for the shortened three-day week, we have just said all week that we can’t control these things and I am impressed with the way the management and players have fronted up to get ready for this game as best we can.

"We had later starts this week and trained into the evenings to allow the guys coming back from Russia to recover as much as possible.

"The attitude has been really positive and upbeat. There is huge competition for places in this squad and players are raring to go.

"Three days spent in airports and hotels gave us a good bit of time to build on our analysis on Brive and we had a good look at their win over Newcastle. We know that they are going to be very physical and a good challenge for us.

"We are really proud of our home record this season and we are looking forward to being back in front of our home supporters in the warmth of Galway tomorrow."

Brive, meanwhile have made six changes to their run-on side that lost to Newcastle last weekend. 

In the backline, Benjamin Petre replaces Atila Septar at outside centre while fly-half Matthieu Ugalde and scrum-half Jean-Baptiste take over from Nicolas Bézy and Bastien Duhalde as the starting half-backs.

In the pack, Hugues Briatte replaces Said Hireche on the blindside flank while Johan Snyman and Kevin Buys are preferred to Victor Lebas and Giorgi Jgenti at lock and tighthead prop respectively.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran (c), 14 Rory Parata, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Danie Poolman, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Nepia Fox Matamua, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Ben Marshall, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris Wright, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 David Heffernan, 17 Conan O'Donnell, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Danny Qualter, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Niyi Adeolokun.

Brive: 15 Romain Sola, 14 Elia Radikedike, 13 Benjamin Petre, 12 Christopher Tuatara, 11 Benito Masilevu, 10 Matthieu Ugalde, 9 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine (c), 8 William Whetton. 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Hugues Briatte, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Thomas Acquier, 1 Damien Lavergne.
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Ribes, 17 Goderzi Shvelidze, 18 Giorgi Jgenti, 19 Victor Lebas, 20 Said Hireche, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Alfifeleti Mafi, 23 Sevanaia Galala.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: The Sportsground
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Small (England), Nigel Carrick (England)

Grenoble v London Irish

Grenoble have selected most of the side who defeated Toulon three weeks ago in the Top 14 for the visit of London Irish on Saturday. 

Fabien Barcella returns to the front-row while Ben Hand will captain the side at lock.

Gilles Bosch gets the start at fly-half while former Springbok Gio Aplon is at full-back.

Meanwhile, London Irish head coach Tom Coventry has named New Zealand World Cup winner Ben Franks and Samoa captain Ofisa Treviranus in his squad of 23.

Tom Court, Gerard Ellis and Halani Aulika start in the front-row for the second week with Eoin Sheriff and Matt Symons again lining up in the second-row. Jebb Sinclair comes into the back-row alongside Joe Trayfoot and Luke Narraway. 

Darren Allinson and Chris Noakes remain at scrum-half and fly-half respectively with Johnny Williams and Aseli Tikoirotuma in the centre. Topsy Ojo, Alex Lewington and Sean Maitland all start together in the back-three.

London Irish head coach Coventry said: "We have enjoyed a good week of preparation following last Saturday’s game against Agen.

"It will be a step up against Grenoble; they have a strong squad and are performing well in the Top 14 so the match will offer a significant challenge."

The teams:

Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Fabrice Estebanez, 12 Nigel Hunt, 11 Daniel Kilioni, 10 Gilles Bosch, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Ben Hand (c), 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Loick Jammes, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Mathias Marie, 20 Steven Setephano, 21 Christophe Loustalot, 22 Clement Gelin, 23 Xavier Mignot.

London Irish: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Alex Lexington, 13 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Topsy Ojo, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Darren Allison, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Joe Trayfoot, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Matt Symons (c), 4 Eoin Sheriff, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Gerard Ellis, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Tom Smallbone, 18 Ben Franks, 19 David Sisi, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Conor Gilsenan, 22 Scott Steele, 23 Theo Brophy-Clews.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Stade des Alpes
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Simon Rees (Wales)
TMO: Jonathan Mason (Wales)


Newcastle v Enisey-STM

Newcastle Falcons have made six changes to their starting line-up that took to the field against Brive in Round One.

In a first match against Russian opposition for the club, Alex Tait, Zach Kibirige, Rob Vickers, Jon Welsh, Calum Green and Will Welch all return adding experience into a team boasting an impressive turn of speed.

Tait takes over the full-back shirt from Craig Willis, who remains in the squad as a replacement following an assured display in France, while Kibirige makes a first start since picking up a knock in the Kings of the North tournament back in September.

The Yarm born flyer’s inclusion sees the jet heeled Marcus Watson move across from the right to left wing while the centre pairing of Chris Harris and Tom Penny continue together, after combining well and playing positive expansive rugby at the Stade Amédée-Domenech.

Looking to take on what threatens to be a physical Enisei pack, the Falcons have called a number of experienced forwards into the side with Rob Vickers and Jon Welsh propping alongside George McGuigan at hooker.

In the second-row, the pace and guile of Sean Robinson is complimented by the direct threat of Calum Green, while across the back-row, Will Welch takes over the blindside flank from Richie Mayhew as Dan Temm and Mark Wilson remain at openside and number eight respectively.

The experienced theme continues onto the replacements bench as full internationals Scott Lawson and Taione Vea lie ready to contribute alongside Alex Rogers, Will Witty, who is in line for his first action of the season after recovering from a pre-season injury.

RC Enisei have made two changes to their side that lost their opener at home to Connacht last weekend. In the backline, Robert Malneek replaces Mikhail Babaev on the right wing while up front, Anton Rudoi come in at number eight in place of Dmitrii Krotov.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Chris Harris, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Michael Young, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Dan Temm, 6 Will Welch, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Rob Vickers. 
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Will Witty, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Ruki Tipuna, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Adam Powell.

Enisei-STM: 15 Iurii Kushnarev, 14 Robert Malneek, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Dmitrii Gerasimov, 11 Denis Simplikevich, 10 Ramil Gaisin, 9 Jurijs Baranovs (c), 8 Anton Rudoi, 7 Andrey Temnov, 6 Vitalii Orlov, 5 Viacheslav Krasylnyk, 4 Uldis Saulite, 3 Innokentiy Zykov, 2 Stanislav Selskii, 1 Aleksandr Bezverkhov. 
Replacements: 16 Nazir Gasanov, 17 Lawrence Cleminson, 18 Evgenii Pronenko, 19 Plavel Butenko, 20 Mikhail Babaev, 21 Alexey Shcherban, 22 Igor Kurashov, 23 Dmitrii Krotov.

Date: Sunday, November 22
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)