London Irish v Montpellier - Teams and Prediction
FRIDAY PREVIEW: The 2022/23 Champions Cup season kicks off at the Brentford Community Stadium with London Irish taking on Montpellier.
London Irish coach Declan Kidney has named a strong squad for the clash.
Facundo Gigena, Agustin Creevy and Lovejoy Chawatama are in the front row, with Australia internationals Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman in the second row.
Matt Rogerson captains the side from the No.6 shirt and is joined in the back row by Juan Martin Gonzalez and So’otala Fa’aso’o.
Ben White and Paddy Jackson form the halfback duo, and Benhard van Rensburg links up with Will Joseph in the centres.
Ollie Hassell-Collins, Lucio Cinti and Ben Loader are the back three trio.
“We can’t wait to get underway in the Heineken Champions Cup,” said Declan Kidney.
“Getting to this point is a credit to the work from the players, staff and coaches. However, we aren’t here to make up the numbers.
“We know it will be a big challenge that the Top 14 Champions will present to us tomorrow night, but one that we are looking forward to. We have prepared well, and our aim is to make our supporters proud.”
Meanwhile, Montpellier have included All Black wing George Bridge in their starting line-up. He forms a back three with Anthony Bouthier and Ben Lam.
Thomas Darmon and Paolo Garbisi are the midfielders with Louis Carbonel wearing the No.10 jersey.
Carbonel’s halfback partner is Springbok Cobus Reinach.
Yacouba Camara leads Montpellier from No.8 and his back-row partners are Zach Mercer and Alexandre Becognee.
Bastien Chalureau and Florian Verhaeghea are in the second row with Mohamed Haouas, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Enzo Forletta in the front row.
@rugby365com: Montpellier by five points.
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 (captain), 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 (captain), 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.
Date: Friday, December 9
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium, London
Kick-off: 20:00 (20.00 GMT; 21.00 France time
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy), Clara Munarini (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)
Teams in for the season opener 🤩
Current joint-top @premrugby try-scorer Ollie Hassell-Collins starts for @londonirish 🔥
While @MHR_officiel‘s Zach Mercer and Cobus Reinach will know plenty about the English side…#HeinekenChampionsCup squads ➡️https://t.co/TAY8skUcGV pic.twitter.com/I80bPzh3cl
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 8, 2022