Champions Cup: London Irish and Montpellier name their sides for tournament opener

Adam Kyriacou
London Irish centre Benhard van Rensburg

London Irish will face Montpellier in the opening game of this season’s Champions Cup, which kicks off at the Brentford Community Stadium on Friday.

The Pool B fixture sees Declan Kidney’s outfit take on the reigning Top 14 champions in what promises to be an intriguing contest under the floodlights.

In team news announced by London Irish, Facundo Gigena, Agustin Creevy and Lovejoy Chawatama are included in the front-row against Montpellier.

All-Australian second-row combination

Australia internationals Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman make up the second-row in a formidable double act who will need to be on top of their game.

Matt Rogerson captains the side from the number six shirt and is joined in the back-row for this game by Juan Martin Gonzalez and So’otala Fa’aso’o.

Behind them, Ben White and Paddy Jackson form the half-back duo, and the impressive Benhard van Rensburg links up with Will Joseph in the centres.

Ollie Hassell-Collins, Lucio Cinti and Ben Loader are the back three trio, with Kidney and his squad hugely excited to get their campaign up and running.

George Bridge and Zach Mercer start

Meanwhile, Montpellier have included All Blacks wing George Bridge in their side as they look to get their Champions Cup charge off on the right foot.

Anthony Bouthier is at full-back and is joined by Ben Lam and Bridge in the back three, with Italy fly-half Paolo Garbisi at 12 alongside Thomas Darmon.

Yacouba Camara will captain the side in a back-row with Zach Mercer and Alexandre Becognee while Brandon Paenga-Amosa is the starting hooker.

The teams

London Irish: 15 Ben Loader, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Facundo Gigena
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Luca Morisi

Montpellier: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Thomas Darmon, 12 Paolo Garbisi, 11 George Bridge, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Alexandre Becognee, 6 Yacouba Camara (c), 5 Bastien Chalureau, 4 Florian Verhaeghe, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Enzo Forletta
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 George Tuinukuafe, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Clement Doumenc, 20 Leo Coly, 21 Julien Tisseron, 22 Masivesi Dakuwaqa, 23 Marco Tauleigne

Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy), Clara Munarini (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

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