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Thu 13 Dec 2018 | 07:04

Preview: Champions Cup, Round Four

Preview: Champions Cup, Round Four
Thu 13 Dec 2018 | 07:04
Preview: Champions Cup, Round Four
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CRUNCH TIME: Former champions Toulouse, Saracens and last season’s runners-up Racing 92 can take giant strides towards clinching qualification for the quarterfinals with fourth-round wins this weekend.

Racing 92 are unbeaten in the top-tier tournament this campaign and could secure a last-eight berth with a second victory in the space of a week over Leicester Tigers.

Threequarter Virimi Vakatawa says the club, bankrolled by multi-millionaire Jacky Lorenzetti, is targeting a home tie in the next round.

The Parisians need to be one of four teams with the highest points at the end of the group stage to clinch a first knock-out tie at their La defence Arena ground which opened in 2017.

“It’s our main objective, so we will continue to work for that. It’s going to be big to have a home quarterfinal in front of our fans,” he said.

“We know we are on top. We have three more games left so we need to keep on working in order to keep on winning games to top our pool.”

The France international crossed in last Sunday’s end-to-end affair to bring his tally this term to nine tries – the joint highest in European club rugby alongside Gloucester’s Charlie Sharples.

Their backline also includes Ireland international Simon Zebo and Argentina wing Juan Imhoff, who have eight touchdowns, each as well as Scotland playmaker Finn Russell.

  • Article continues below video …

The 2016 and 2017 winners Saracens are aiming for an eighth quarterfinal in as many years.

They are yet to lose this campaign and travel to the Cardiff Blues after a seven-try 51-25 thumping of the Welsh region in London last Sunday and will remain without England lock Maro Itoje who has a knee injury.

Elsewhere, Glasgow welcome already-eliminated Lyon with the tournament’s joint-top scorer in flyhalf Adam Hastings in good form since making his Scotland debut in June.

In a re-run of the 2004 final, Toulouse welcome Wasps to the Stade Ernest-Wallon with the French side on top of Pool One on 12 points after beating the English club 24-16 in Coventry last weekend.

A victory in France on Saturday would stretch Toulouse’s unbeaten run across all competitions to nine games and would clinch a last-eight spot for the four-time champions after missing out last year.

Young fullback Thomas Ramos joins Hastings at the top of the points-scoring table, while France threequarter Sofiane Guitoune tops the try-scoring chart on four and Wasps will also be wary of South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe who dotted down in a very impressive performance in the English Midlands.

Toulouse is battling with Leinster for the top spot in the group. The reigning champions welcome Bath to the Aviva Stadium after their fans were forbidden from taking flags into the Recreation Ground for health and safety reasons in the 17-10 win.

The Irish province will be without international centre Robbie Henshaw with a hamstring injury but can rely on world player of the year Johnny Sexton – who signed a contract extension until 2021 this week.

The two final rounds of the competition take place in January.

We look at all the Round Four matches!

Friday, December 14

Ulster v Scarlets
(Kingspan Stadium, Belfast – Kick-off: 19.45; 1945 GMT)

Ulster could go top of Pool Four with an emphatic victory over Scarlets.

Ulster has lost just one of their last five tournament games against the Scarlets, with a first away win at Parc y Scarlets in Round Three during that run.

Scarlets have lost four games in Europe on the bounce, their worst run since losing eight in a row between January 2015 and January 2016.

Since the start of the 2014/15 season, Scarlets have won just two of 13 away games, picking up a losing bonus point on three occasions in those 11 defeats.

Scarlets have not won in Ireland in Europe’s top flight since beating Ulster in January 2007.

Ulster have won eight of their last nine Heineken Champions Cup games at the Kingspan, winning those matches by an average margin of 20 points

Ulster has conceded more turnovers (52) than any other side so far this season.

Ulster has successfully converted just 58% of their kicks at goal so far, the worst rate in the competition to date.

Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale is one of four players to have scored a try in all three rounds this season (also Sofiane Guitoune of Toulouse, Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi and Sean Cronin of Leinster).

No one has made offloads than Ulster’s Will Addison so far (9, same as Toulouse’s Joe Tekori), and the Ireland utility back also ranks third for defenders beaten (17).

Ulster’s Michael Lowry is one of just three players to make 20+ carries, at an average over 10 metres per carry, also Cheslin Kolbe of Toulouse, and Saracens’ Sean Maitland).

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Will Addison, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Sean Reidy, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Tommy O’Toole, 19 Matty Rea, 20 Nick Timoney, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Darren Cave.

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Lewis Rawling, 5 David Bullbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tom Price, 20 Josh Helps, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Paul Asquith.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs
(Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

Gloucester will go top of Pool Two if they can overcome Exeter Chiefs for a second week in a row.

Exeter has gone four games without a win in the tournament.

Only once before have Gloucester hosted Premiership opposition in Europe’s top flight, losing 28-9 to Harlequins in November 2011.

Exeter has picked up just four away wins from 17 games, with those wins coming in Wales and France.

Exeter’s only previous away game against Premiership opposition was their last minute 24-25 loss to Wasps in the 2016 quarterfinal.

Santiago Cordero has beaten more defenders than any other player this season, including an impressive 17 last weekend.

Teams:

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Alex Craig, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Matt Banahan, 23 Tom Hudson.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Joe Simmonds, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Tom Lawday, 7 Don Armand, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Wilhelm Van der Sluys, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Phil Dollman.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco Baqué (France), Cédric Marchat (France)
TMO: Denis Grenouillet (France)

Saturday, December 15

Glasgow Warriors v Lyon
(Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow – Kick-off: 13.00; 14.00 French time; 13.00 GMT)

Glasgow Warriors can take a huge step towards the quarterfinals if they are able to defeat Lyon.

Glasgow is on the hunt for a third consecutive win for the first time in a single campaign.

They have lost four of their last five home games, as many as they had lost in their previous 12 such matches.

Lyon has lost the last six away games they have played in Europe, losing five in the Challenge Cup plus the defeat to Saracens at Allianz Park in Round 2 this season.

Glasgow’s Adam Hastings is the joint top scorer after three rounds, notching 34 points to date.

Glasgow’s Jonny Gray has made a competition-high 59 tackles so far, missing just two.

Teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Stafford McDowell, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (captain), 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 George Turner, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Robbie Nairn.

Lyon: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Xavier Mignot, 13 Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12 Thibaut Regard, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jean-Marc Doussain, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Deon Fourie, 7 Patrick Sobela (captain), 6 Loann Goujon, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Hamza Kaabèche, 2 Virgile Lacombe, 1 Raphael Chaume.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Albertus Buckle, 18 Kévin Yaméogo, 19 Francois van der Merwe, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Rudi Wulf, 22 Adrien Seguret, 23 Quentin Delord.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Aled Evans (Wales)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)

Cardiff Blues v Saracens
(Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff – Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)

Saracens have made the perfect start to this season’s Champions Cup and will be looking for a fourth straight victory.

Cardiff lost their first home game of the season against Glasgow in Round Two, however, they’ve not lost consecutive home matches in Europe since 2012/13 when they were beaten RC Toulon and Montpellier.

Saracens have lost just one of their last 10 pool games away from home, with that solitary defeat coming against Clermont against Stade Marcel-Michelin in 2017/18.

This will be just the sixth time Saracens have played in Wales, losing just one of the previous five.

Cardiff has won seven of their last nine home games against Premiership opposition in the tournament, although they did lose their most recent such game against Exeter Chiefs in January 2014.

Saracens are one of three clubs with a 100% win rate this season, and they are the only side yet to allow their opponents to register any match points.

Teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Garyn Smith, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Samu Manoa, 5 Josh Turnbull (captain), 4 Seb Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 George Earle, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Matthew Morgan.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Dom Day, 20 Nick Isiekwe, 21 Calum Clark, 22 Richard Wigglesworth, 23 Alex Lozowski.

Referee: Jérome Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Jonathan Dufort (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

IN FOCUS | Richard Wigglesworth v Cardiff Blues (A)

🎥 IN FOCUS w/ Richard Wigglesworth 🙋🏻‍♂️📝 New contract🔐 Unlocking more success🆚 Cardiff Blues (Again)Our scrum-half wants to make more memories & insists this group has the right attitude to do just that… but there's work still to be done 🔴⚫️

Posted by Saracens on Thursday, 13 December 2018

Toulouse v Wasps
(Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse – Kick-off: 16.15; 15.15 UK time; 15.15 GMT)

Toulouse fullback Thomas Ramos will be looking for another winning performance when his side host Wasps.

Ramos is the joint top scorer in the competition after three rounds with 34 points (five conversions, eight penalties).

This is the first time since 2005 that Wasps have failed to win any of their first three European Cup matches.

They have never failed to win their first four.

The last club to prevent Toulouse winning at home was Wasps in October 2016 when they drew 20-20.

Wasps have registered just one win in their last nine away games, coming against Zebre in January 2017.

This will be the fourth time Toulouse have hosted Wasps, all three previous games being decided by a margin of seven points or less.

Teams:

Toulouse: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Romain Ntamack, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Florian Verhaeghe, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand (captain), 1 Clément Castets.
Replacements:
16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Lucas Pointud, 18 Maks Van Dyk, 19 Gillian Galan, 20 Carl Axtens, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 Maxime Mermoz, 23 Maxime Médard.

Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ross Neal, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Craig Hampson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ben Morris, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Ashley Johnson (captain), 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements:
16 Antonio Harris, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Will Porter, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Michele Campagnaro.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Leinster v Bath
(Aviva Stadium, Dublin – Kick-off: 17.30; 17.30 GMT)

Defending champions Leinster could make it 11 straight home victories in the Champions Cup if they can defeat Bath.

Leinster have won eight of their 10 previous matches against Bath including each of their last three home games against the Premiership side.

Leinster have won their last 10 home games in Europe’s top flight, not experiencing defeat since Wasps (RDS) and RC Toulon (Aviva Stadium) took the honours during the 2015/16 season.

Six of Leinster’s last eight home losses have come against Premiership sides, including a defeat to Bath in October 2005.’

Bath are unbeaten in their last two away games and the last time they enjoyed a longer run on the road was a five-game winning streak between January 2005 and April 2006.

Bath have won just once in eight tournament games in Ireland – a 22-19 win against Leinster in the 2005/06.

Holders Leinster goes into Saturday’s game as the top points (96) and try (13) scorers in the competition to date.

Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni has averaged 9.8 metres per carry so far, the best rate of any of the 46 players to make 30+ carries.

Leinster’s Sean Cronin is one of just four players to score in all three rounds this season and the only forward to do so (also Sofiane Guitoune of Toulouse, Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi and Jacob Stockdale of Ulster).

Leinster’s James Lowe is the top metre-maker after three rounds (335), averaging 9.3 metres per carry.

Teams

Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Rory O’Loughlin, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Noel Reid.

Bath: 15 Ruaridh McConnochie, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James Wilson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Alex Davies, 23 Darren Atkins.

Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Castres Olympique v Munster
(Stade Pierre Fabre, Castres – 18.30; 17.30 UK time; 17.30 GMT)

Top 14 winners Castres Olympique will be desperate to end a run of six home matches without a victory against Irish opposition in the European Cup when they host Munster.

Castres have won just three times in 15 matches against Munster, and have now gone eight without success after last weekend’s defeat in Limerick.

The French side’s record home defeat came at the hands of Munster who beat them 46-9 back in 2005.

Munster have lost just one of their last six pool stage games away from home. However, that defeat did come in France against their 2018 conquerors Racing 92.

Munster are looking to win both back-to-back fixtures in consecutive seasons for the first time since they managed the feat across three seasons between 2005/06 and 2007/08.

Teams

Castres: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Martin Laveau, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Florian Vialelle, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Mathieu Babillot (captain), 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Loic Jacquet, 4 Thibault Lassalle, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Kevin Firmin, 1 Paea Fa’anunu.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Antoine Tichit, 18 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 19 Christophe Samson, 20 Kevin Gimeno, 21 Robert Ebersohn, 22 Armand Batlle, 23 Ludovic Radosavljevic.

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Jaco Taute.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Sunday, December 16

Leicester Tigers v Racing 92
(Welford Road, Leicester – Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)

Racing 92 travel to Welford Road to face Leicester Tigers as they aim to maintain their 100 percent record this season.

Racing have won five of their six games against Leicester, including each of their last four.

Leicester have lost three of their last five home games, after losing just one of 34 such games beforehand.

Racing have won each of their last two away pool games, but they’ve never won three away fixtures on the bounce before.

Racing are aiming to win both back-to-back matches for the first time since they did the Round 3 and 4 double over Edinburgh in 2012/13.

Leicester Tigers could lose their back-to-back fixtures for the second season in a row, having never done so before last season.

If selected, Racing’s Simon Zebo will make his 50th tournament appearance on Sunday after scoring his 25th tournament try last weekend.

Teams

Leicester: 15 Jonah Holmes, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Ben White, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Will Spencer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Mike Williams, 21 Guy Thompson, 22 Ben Youngs, 23 Gareth Owen.

Racing 92: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Louis Dupichot, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy (captain), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Guram Gogichashvili.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Fabien Sanconnie, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Olivier Klemenczak, 23 Ben Volavola.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Montpellier v RC Toulon
(GGL Stadium, Montpellier – Kick-off: 16.15; 15.15 GMT)

Montpellier host Top 14 rivals RC Toulon in a must-win match for both teams.

All five meetings between Montpellier and Toulon in the Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup have been won by the home side on the day.

Montpellier have won all three of their previous home games against TOP 14 opposition in the European Cup, including a 20-point victory over RC Toulon in 2012/13.

Toulon have lost all four of their previous away games against TOP 14 clubs, although three of those matches did take place in the knockout stage.

Montpellier and Toulon are two of seven sides to have maintained a 100% scrum success rate this season.

Montpellier have made 625 tackles to date, the only side in the competition to average more than 200 per match.

Teams

Montpellier: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Henry Immelman, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles (captain), 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Vincent Giudicelli, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Martin Devergie, 20 Benjamin Fall, 21 Benoit Paillaugue, 22 Yvan Reilhac, 23 Konstantine Mikautadze.

Toulon: 15 Jonah Placid, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Josua Tuisova, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Jean Monribot, 5 Swan Rebbadj, 4 Brian Alainu’uese, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Mathieu Bastareaud, 21 Louis Carbonel, 22 Yoann Cottin, 23 Stephane Onambele Mbarga.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Newcastle Falcons v Edinburgh
(Kingston Park, Newcastle – Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)

Newcastle Falcons welcome Edinburgh to Kingston Park, as they look to bounce back from their 13-31 defeat last weekend.

Newcastle have won five of their last seven home games in the tournament with defeats by the Dragons (2001) and Leinster Rugby (2002).

Falcons got the better of Edinburgh at home in the 2004/05 season by 34-24 which is their second highest total in the tournament (42 v Toulouse in November 2001).

Newcastle are one of just two sides to have led at half-time in all three games this season (also Racing 92).

Edinburgh have lost six of their last seven away games, failing to score more than 16 points on each occasion.

Edinburgh’s Bill Mata has made 69 carries so far, the most of any player this season.

Teams

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood (captain), 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 John Hardie, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Calum Green, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Sam Lockwood.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Sami Mavinga, 18 Jack Payne, 19 Glen Young, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Tom Arscott.

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Luke Hamilton, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Luke Crosbie, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Juan Pablo Socino.

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Thomas Charabas (France), Luc Ramos (France)
TMO: Eric Briquet-Campin (France)

Sources: AFP & @ChampionsCup

PV: 1497


Preview: Champions Cup, Round Four | Rugby365