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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019

Montpellier name second-string team for Ulster visit

Meanwhile, Jonny Sexton will partner Mike Phillips at halfback for Racing Métro tomorrow night.

Montpellier coach Fabien Galthié is more concerned about the Top 14.
Montpellier coach Fabien Galthié is more concerned about the Top 14.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

MONTPELLIER HAVE NAMED a weakened team for tomorrow night’s clash with Ulster at Ravenhill in Pool 5 of the Heineken Cup [8pm].

After three losses in their opening four games of the group stage, Fabien Galthié’s side have little to play for and have taken the decision to rest key men such as François Trinh-Duc, Jonathan Pélissié and Mamuka Gorgodze.

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe will be taking nothing for granted against the Top 14 side, who can still call on the likes of Scottish international Johnnie Beattie at No. 8, Cameroonian giant Robins Tachle-Watchou at lock and former All Black Anthony Tuitavake at centre.

Still, the fact that Montpellier are not at full strength means Ulster will see this clash as a chance to score tries, particularly if they can get off to a dominant start in front of the excellent Ravenhill crowd. With a daunting trip to Welford Road still to come the weekend after this, all points on offer tomorrow night need to be ruthlessly taken.

Montpellier (v Ulster): Anthony Floch; Yohann Artru, Anthony Tuitavake, Thomas Combezou, Lucas Dupont; Enzo Selponi, Eric Escande; Na’ama Leleimalefaga, Charles Geli (captain), Maximilliano Bustos; Mickael Demarco, Robins Tchale Watchou; Kellen Galletier, Alexandre Bias, Johnnie Beattie.

Replacements: Thomas Bianchin, Mikheil Nariashvili, Paea Fa’anunu, Mickael Ivaldi, Fred Quercy, Benoit Paillaugue, Pierre Berard, Timoci Nagusa.

imagePhillips and Sexton will be linking up again tomorrow night. ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker.

Meanwhile, Racing Métro’s team to face the Scarlets at the Stade Yves du Manoir tomorrow evening [8pm Irish time] includes a halfback pairing of Jonny Sexton and Mike Phillips.

The Parisians also have little to play for apart from pride on their home patch, given that they have only won once in their four games in Pool 4. Racing have no interest in dropping into the Amlin Challenge Cup, with Top 14 targets being clearly prioritised now.

Qualification pressure may be off, but the home support will expect a strong performance following last weekend’s 6-0 league defeat in Oyonnax. The hope is that Racing will begin to play more ambitious rugby, and with Juan Martín Hernández moved to inside centre, as well as Benjamin Fall returning at fullback, that is a possibility.

Racing Métro (v Scarlets): Benjamin Fall; Juan Imhoff, Henry Chavancy, Juan Martín Hernández, Marc Andreu; Jonny Sexton, Mike Phillips; Julien Brugnaut, Virgile Lacombe, Brian Mujati; Karim Ghezal, Fabrice Metz; Antoine Battut, Dan Lydiate, Jacques Cronje.

Replacements: Jerome Maurouard, Soane Tonga’uiha, Luc Dulcacon, Juandre Kruger, Camille Gerondeau, Maxime Machenaud, Benjamin Dambielle, Alexandre Dumoulin.

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Murray Kinsella

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