Preview: Bayonne v La Rochelle

Date published: January 11 2017

La Rochelle can move clear of Gloucester in Pool 1 of the Challenge Cup when they face Bayonne at Stade Jean-Dauger on Thursday.

Currently sitting level on 15 points with the Cherry and Whites, the Top 14 side have the opportunity to put the pressure on their pool rivals.

Gloucester face an away clash with Treviso on Saturday and could be five points behind La Rochelle if the French team see off Bayonne in the opening game of Round Five, with Bayonne sitting bottom of the group with one point from their four games in a dismal European campaign.

La Rochelle have understandably named a strong side that includes Brock James, Levani Botia, Paul Jordaan and Steeve Barry in the backline, with Jason Eaton, Jone Qovu Nailiko and Hikairo Forbes also starting up front. The in-form Zack Holmes will this week start from the bench.

Bayonne’s Top 14 game against Pau was postponed last week so they are set to be fresh for this Challenge Cup clash on their home patch.

The teams:

Bayonne: 15 Julien Tisseron, 14 Bastien Fuster, 13 Felix Le Bourhis, 12 Adam Whitelock, 11 Julien Jane, 10 Raphael Lagarde, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 Pieter Jan Van Lill, 7 Johnnie Beattie, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Guillaume Ducat, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Jérôme Schuster
Replacements: 16 Jose Ramon Ayarza, 17 Aretz Iguiniz, 18 Toma Taufa, 19 Pelu Ian Taele, 20 Manu Saubusse, 21 Martin Laveau, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Jean-Blaise Lespinasse

La Rochelle: 15 Arthur Retiere, 14 Steeve Barry, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Botia Veivuke, 11 David Raikuna, 10 Brock James, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 7 Afa Amosa, 6 Jason Eaton, 5 Leo Cedaro, 4 Damien Lagrange, 3 Mohamed Boughanmi, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 David Feao, 18 Lekso Kaulashvili, 19 Mathieu Tanguy, 20 Charlie Francoz, 21 Alexi Bales, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Kini Murimurivalu

Date: Thursday, January 12
Venue: Stade Jean-Dauger
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Chris Harrington (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)