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Botia fit for La Rochelle as Dupont captains Toulouse in Champions Cup final

Ronan O’Gara’s side have brought Kevin Gourdon and Dany Priso back into the starting XV.

Levani Botia is fit for La Rochelle.
Levani Botia is fit for La Rochelle.
Image: Dave Winter/INPHO

LA ROCHELLE HAVE been handed a big boost ahead of tomorrow’s Heineken Champions Cup final against Toulouse in Twickenham [KO 4.45pm, Virgin Media/BT Sport] with the return to fitness of influential centre Levani Botia. 

The Fijian star has been dealing with an ankle injury since the club’s semi-final win over Leinster but has been passed fit to start tomorrow’s European decider in London.

Kevin Gourdon starts in the back row for Jono Gibbes and Ronan O’Gara’s side, having come off the bench against Leinster, while Dany Priso comes in at loosehead prop.

Meanwhile, injuries in the Toulouse midfield mean Argentinian centre Juan Cruz Mallia has been named for his first start in the Champions Cup on what will be just his second appearance in the competition.

Toulouse captain Julien Marchand is missing due to suspension, with Paeto Mauvaka starting at hooker in his place and Antoine Dupont taking over as skipper. 

La Rochelle:

15. Brice Dulin
14. Dillyn Leyds
13. Geoffrey Doumayrou
12. Levani Botia
11. Raymond Rhule
10. Ihaia West
9. Tawera Kerr Barlow

1. Dany Priso
2. Pierre Bourgarit
3. Uini Atonio
4. Romain Sazy (captain)
5. Will Skelton
6. Grégory Alldritt
7. Kevin Gourdon
8. Victor Vito.


16. Facundo Bosch
17. Reda Wardi
18. Arthur Joly
19. Thomas Lavault
20. Wiaan Liebenberg
21. Paul Boudehent
22. Arthur Retiere
23. Jules Plisson 


15. Maxime Médard
14. Cheslin Kolbe
13. Juan Cruz Mallía
12. Pita Ahki
11. Matthis Lebel
10. Romain Ntamack
9. Antoine Dupont (captain)

1. Cyril Baille
2. Peato Mauvaka
3. Charlie Faumuina
4. Rory Arnold
5. Richie Arnold
6. Rynhardt Elstadt
7. Francois Cros
8. Jerome Kaino.


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16. Guillaume Marchand
17. Clément Castets
18. David Ainu’u
19. Joe Tekori
20. Thibaud Flament
21. Selevasio Tolofua
22. Baptiste Germain
23. Thomas Ramos 

Referee: Luke Pearce [RFU].

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella, and Gavan Casey look back on two cracking weekend inter-pros, look forward to the Champions Cup final, and discuss the growth of the sport in non-rugby strongholds such as Tallaght which still needs more institutional support.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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