Preview: Montpellier v Castres

Date published: December 9 2016

Montpellier boss Jake White has made seven changes for his side’s Champions Cup clash with Castres this weekend.

Five of those changes come in the backs, where Timoci Nagusa and Nic White are the sole survivors from last weekend’s Top 14 win away at Grenoble.

Jesse Mogg comes in at full-back with Vincent Martin and Alexandre Dumoulin forming a new centre partnership.

Nemani Nadolo starts on the left wing, while Frans Steyn is at fly-half in place of Demetri Catrakilis, who drops to the bench.

Upfront, Kélian Galletier switches from number eight to flanker to allow for the return of club captain Akapusi Qera.

Meanwhile for Castres, there are four changes to the starting XV following last weekend’s win away at Lyon in the French league.

Pierre Berard gets the nod at full-back over Geoffrey Palis while Afusipa Taumoepeau, the former Brumbies and Rebels back, is at inside centre taking over from Robert Ebersohn.

There are also two changes in the tight five, with veteran second row Rodrigo Capo Ortega partnership up with Thibault Lasalle in place of Loïc Jacquet.

Finally, Brice Mach takes over from Jody Jenneker at hooker to complete the line-up. Exciting young scrum-half Antoine Dupont, who is set to join Toulouse next season, is named on the bench.

Form: Both these sides have won one and lost one match in their pool – which also includes Leinster and Northampton Saints – this season. Montpellier kickstarted their campaign with an impressive 22-16 home win against the Irish province in Round One before suffering a narrow 16-14 defeat to Northampton in their next match. Castres lost 33-15 to Leinster in their opening match at the RDS Arena but bounced back in style when they beat the Saints 41-7 at Stade Pierre Antoine in Round Two. These sides met earlier this year in the Top 14 with Montpellier claiming a 28-19 home win.

The teams:

Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Akapusi Qera (c), 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Nicholaas Van Rensburg, 4 Konstantine Mikautadze, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Géli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Jannie Du Plessis, 19 Antoine Battut, 20 Wiaan Liebenberg, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Benjamin Fall, 23 Demetri Catrakilis

Castres: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Rémi Grosso, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 11 David Smith, 10 Julien Dumora, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Thibault Lassale, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Damien Tussac, 19 Victor Moreaux, 20 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 21 Alexandre Bias, 22 Antoine Dupont, 23 Florian Vialelle

Date: Sunday, December 11
Venue: Altrad Stadium
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)