Champions Cup - Teams and Predictions
ROUND THREE, FRIDAY PREVIEW: There will be two European Champions Cup fixtures on Friday.
English Premiership side Harlequins travel to Wales to take on Cardiff.
While Castres Olympique host Munster at the Stade Pierre Fabre on Friday.
This will be the 18th clash between Munster and Castres Olympique in the Champions Cup, the most
played fixture in the history of the competition.
The hosts have only won one of their last 10 games against Munster but that victory came the last time they hosted the Irish province.
Although the two-time European champions have won their opening two Pool B fixtures, at Wasps and at home to Castres respectively, Munster coach Johan van Graan knows they face a huge battle to secure an away win over their French opponents.
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Van Graan told the Irish Examiner: “We came out of a very challenging time with two wins out of two that would put us in a very good position at the back end of Europe.
“The way it is structured currently, it is four games. If you win three out of your four games, it puts you in a very good position to make the knockout rounds.
“You might need less, but obviously we’d like to win every game that we play and we’ve got Wasps the following Sunday, which will be a nine-day turnaround.”
Munster was last away to Castres in December 2018 – a match Van Graan remembers well.
He said: “The last game we played in Castres, we lost 13-12. We got one point and even that point we got was tight in that pool.
“We are going to have to perform. It will be tight. Who knows what will happen in the other games, so you might have to wait quite a bit to know where your fate lies.”
Cardiff v Harlequins
Castres v Munster
Teams and Predictions below…
Friday, January 14
Cardiff Rugby v Harlequins
(Cardiff Arms Park, Wales – Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)
@rugby365com: Harlequins by five points
Cardiff: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams , 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 James Ratti, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Seb Davies, 4 Josh Turnbull (captain), 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Rhys Carre,
Replacements: 16 Torin Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Ben Thomas.
Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Luke Northmore, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Tom Lawday, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Dino Lamb, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Will Collier, 2 Jack Walker , 1 Joe Marler,
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 Viliami Taulani, 21 Jack Stafford, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Huw Jones,
Referee: Tual Trainini (France)
Assistant Referees: Benoit Rousselet (France) & Cedric Marchat (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)
Castres Olympique v Munster Rugby
(Stade Pierre Fabre, France – Kick-off: 21.00; 20.00 GMT)
@rugby365com: Munster by two points
Castres: 15 Thomas Larregain, 14 Antoine Zeghdar, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Santiago Arata Perrone, 8 Baptiste Delaporte, 7 Simon Meka, 6 Mateaki Kafatolu, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Loic Jacquet (captain), 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Brice Humbert, 1 Antoine Tichit,
Replacements: 16 Pierre Colonna, 17 Julius Nostadt, 18 Matthew Tierney, 19 Ryno Pieterse, 20 Hugo Hermet, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Louis Le Brun, 23 Bastien Guillemin,
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Fineen Wycherley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne,
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 John Ryan, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 John Hodnett, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Shane Daly.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales (England) & Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)