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Preview: European Cup, Round Three

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 16:04
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They're used to big matches and this competition
Quote-end

Double defending champions Leinster face the daunting task of travelling to Clermont in the European Cup this weekend in the first of a mouth-watering double-header between two of the continent's heavyweights.

The Irish province and French giants are both unbeaten in Pool Five, but Clermont have a two-point advantage thanks to two crucial bonus points garnered from games against Scarlets and Exeter.

The matches throw up the chance for Leinster's Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt to return to Clermont, where he worked under compatriot Vern Cotter before relocating to Ireland and is now being touted as a likely candidate for the coaching team for the British and Irish Lions to Australia next year.

"Qualifying from the pool will depend on this double header," said Cotter. "They, as we have done, have long marked this date in the calendar.

"My players are very excited, focused and motivated by the idea of playing this match."

Cotter said Leinster, who beat Clermont 19-15 in last season's semi-final, were not a team to be underestimated come Sunday.

"They're a team which controls the ball well and plays with a lot of speed. They're used to big matches and this competition.

"With a two-point deficit on us, they know that they don't have any other solution than to go away with a result here.

"I know Joe well and I'm sure he'll try to move the ball around. We'll have to be ready to adapt by remaining focused and accurate."

Leinster prop Cian Healy added: "We're pretty focused on Clermont and what we have to do there. It's a big two games and what we have to bring to that away game is going to be a big ask.

"We expect the exact same again. Their physicality is a big thing they bring and their defence is hard."

Clermont are just one of three heavy French hitters, four-time European champions Toulouse in action against Ospreys and Toulon travelling to struggling English club Sale on Saturday.

Toulouse have lost just eight of their previous European Cup encounters at home and the injury-hit Ospreys will likely suffer against the French side who will probably still be missing France captain and flank Thierry Dusautoir.

But Toulouse will be boosted by their 30-22 victory over Clermont in the Top 14 last weekend, and know they cannot rest on their laurels with Leicester also in their Pool Two (and who will play Treviso on Sunday).

The star-studded Toulon side romped past Grenoble 39-3 in the domestic league to head to the north of England bristling with optimism.

Unbeaten English sides Harlequins and Saracens face away trips to Italian outfit Zebre and Munster respectively.

In Pool Four, last season's losing finalists Ulster will seek a third victory in three games away to Northampton.

Welsh clubs Cardiff Blues and Scarlets, along with sole Scottish representatives Edinburgh and Glasgow, have all yet to register a victory, but will be hoping to buck their countries' disastrous international showings in the autumn Test series.

Round Three fixtures and teams:

Friday, December 7:

Glasgow Warriors v Castres Olympique
(Scotstoun Stadium - Kick-off: 19.35, 19.35 GMT)

Teams:

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Stuart Hogg, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH Van Der Merwe, 10 Scott Wight, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 John Barclay, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Alastair Kellock (captain), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Michael Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Nikola Matawalu, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sean Maitland.

Castres Olympique: 15 Romain Martial, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Seremaia Bai, 12 Remy Lamerat, 11 Max Evans, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Jannie Bornman, 6 Ibrahim Diarra, 5 Christophe Samson, 4 Matthias Rolland (captain), 3 Karena Wihongi, 2 Mathieu Bonello, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Hai Lazar, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Yannick Caballero, 21 Thomas Sanchou, 22 Paul Bonnefond, 23 Daniel Kirkpatrick.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Darren Gamage (England), Paul Dix (England)

Connacht Rugby v Biarritz Olympique
(Sportsground - Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)

Teams:

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 David McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks (captain), 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Kearney, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Dennis Buckley, 18 James Cooney, 19 Daniel Qualter, 20 Johnny O'Connor, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Matthew Jarvis.

Biarritz Olympique: 15 Iain Balshaw, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Charles Gimenez, 12 Marcelo Bosch, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Mathew Berquist, 9 Dimitri Yachvili (captain), 8 Raphael Lakafia, 7 Benoit Guyot, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Thibault Dubarry, 4 Erik Lund, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Benoit August, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 17 Thomas Synaeghel, 18 Wicus Blaauw, 19 Pelu Taele, 20 Imanol Harinordoquy, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Jean Pascal Barraque, 23 Seremaia Burotu.

Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Paul Burton (England)
TMO: Trevor Fisher (England)

Northampton Saints v Ulster
(Franklin's Gardens - Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)

Teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dominic Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Nick Williams Nanai, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert (France), Sebastian Cloute (France)
TMO: Laurent Valin (France)

Saturday, December 8

Scarlets v Exeter Chiefs
(Parc y Scarlets - Kick-off. 13.35; 13.35 GMT)

Teams:

Scarlets: 15 Daniel Newton, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Jonathan Edwards, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Johan Snyman, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Gareth Maule.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Tom Hayes (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ian Whitten.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France), Jérôme Lamirand (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins  (France)

Toulouse v Ospreys
(Stade Ernest Wallon - Kick-off: 14.35; 13.35 GMT)

Teams:

Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Maxime Medard, 13 Yann David, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yannick Nyanga (captain), 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Yohann Montes, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 Edwin Maka, 22 Gael Fickou, 23 Jean Marc Doussain.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ross Jones, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'I (captain), 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Dimitri Arhip, 19 Lloyd Peers, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Thomas Isaacs.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Shaun Gallagher (Ireland), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Zebre v Harlequins
(Stadio XXV Aprile - Kick-off: 14.35; 13.35 GMT)

Teams:

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Gonzalo Garcia (captain), 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Josh Sole, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dave Ryan, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Samuele Pace, 23 Paolo Buso.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Daniel Care, 8 Nick Easter (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ugo Monye.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald (England), Bob Nevins (Scotland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Sale Sharks v Toulon
(Salford City Stadium - Kick-off: 15.40; 15.40 GMT)

Teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Mark Jennings, 13 Corne Uys, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Rob Miller, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 James Gaskell, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Eifion Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Andrew Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Daniel Cipriani, 23 Charlie Amesbury.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 David Smith, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (captain), 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Pierrick Gunther, 20 Nick Kennedy, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Simon Shaw.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

Munster v Saracens
(Thomond Park - Kick-off: 18.00; 18.00 GMT)

Teams:

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Keith Earls, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Peter O'Mahony, 6 David O'Callaghan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian Du Preez, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Patrick Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Casey Laulala.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Bradley Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 4 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Joel Tomkins, 23 David Strettle

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos (France), Cyril Lafon (France)
TMO: Jean-Pierre Pellaprat (France)

Racing Métro 92 v Edinburgh
(Stade Yves du Manoir    - Kick-off: 19.00; 18.00 GMT)

Teams:

Racing Metro 92: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Virimi Vakatawa, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Sebastien Descons, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Jacques Cronje (captain), 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Francois Carl van der Merwe, 4 Fabrice Metz, 3 Benjamin Salemane Sa, 2 Thomas Bianchin.1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 21 Camille Gerondeau, 22 Maxime Machenaud, 23 Alexandre Dumoulin.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matthew Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Dave Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 WP Nel, 19 Perry Parker, 20 Robert McAlpine, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Dougie Fife, 23 Lee Jones.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)

Sunday, December 9:

Cardiff Blues v Montpellier
(Cardiff Arms Park - Kick-off: 12.45; 12.45 GMT)

Teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius (captain), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Taufa'ao Filise, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Owen Williams.

Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Thiery, 14 Yoan Audrin, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Pierre Berard, 10 Santiago Fernandez, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 John Beattie, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (captain), 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Aliki Fakate, 4 Drikus Hancke, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Erasmus van Vuuren, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Barry Fa'amausili, 19 Mickael De Marco, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Eric Escande, 22 Shontayne Hape/Illian Perraux, 23 Timoci Nagusa/Yoan Artru.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Michael Black (Ireland)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)

Leicester Tigers v Benetton Treviso
(Welford Road - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Ed Slater, 5 Geoff Parling (captain), 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Jordan Crane, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Micky Young, 22 Geordan Murphy, 23 Matt Smith.

Benetton Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Christian Loamanu, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Andrea Pratichetti, 10 James Ambrosini, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Dean Budd, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Corniel Van Zyl, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Paul Derbyshire, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.

Referee: George Clancy (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Stephan Pomarède (France)
TMO: Gilles Cogne (France)

ASM Clermont Auvergne v Leinster
(Stade Marcel Michelin - Kick-off: 16.00; 15.00 GMT)

Teams:

ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Aurelien Rougerie (captain), 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Vincent Debaty.
Replacements: 16 Ti'I Paulo, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Julien Pierre, 20 Julien Bardy, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 David Skrela, 23 Regan King.

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Gordon D'Arcy, 12 Andrew Goodman, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Damien Browne, 4 Leo Cullen (captain), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Fionn Carr, 23 Andrew Conway.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

AFP & rugby365

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