Heineken Cup Round Four previews

Sat, Dec 15, 2012, 00:00

Compiled by JOHN O'SULLIVAN

TODAY

Pool Two

Ospreys v Toulouse

Liberty Stadium (1.35, Sky Sports)

Former Leinster schools fullback Ross Jones starts on the right wing for the Ospreys, who welcome back Ryan Bevington and Richard Hibbard to the front row and Adam Jones after injury to the bench. Jean Marc Doussain fills in for the injured Luke McAlister at outhalf in a much changed Toulouse team. Ospreys should go a lot closer but maybe not enough to win.

OSPREYS: R Fussell; R Jones, A Bishop, A Beck, E Walker; D Biggar, K Fotuali’i (capt); R Bevington, R Hibbard, C Johnstone; I Gough, J King; R Jones, J Tipuric, J Bearman.

TOULOUSE: M Medard; V Clerc, Y David, G Fickou, Y Huget; J Marc Doussain, L Burgess; V Kakovin, G Botha, C Johnston; Y Maestri, P Albacete; J Bouilhou (capt), T Dusautoir, L Picamoles.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland).

Verdict: Toulouse.

Benetton Treviso v Leicester Tigers

Stadio Comunale di Monigo (1.35).

Irish underage international Niall Morris is recalled on the right wing, one of six changes in a Leicester side who allowed the Italians to push them close in the second half at Welford Road. The English club have struggled here in the past . The home side have a strong team and bench and this could produce a surprise.

BENETTON TREVISO: L McLean; L Nitoglia, C Loamanu, A Sgarbi, T Iannone; A Di Bernardo, E Gori; M Rizzo, L Ghiraldini (capt), L Cittadini; F Minto, C Van Zyl; A Zanni, D Budd, M Vosawai.

LEICESTER TIGERS: M Tait; N Morris, M Tuilagi, A Allen, A Thompstone; G Ford, B Youngs; M Ayerza, T Youngs, D Cole; L Deacon (capt), G Parling; B Deacon, J Salvi, T Waldrom.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

Verdict: Leicester Tigers .

Pool Three

Harlequins v Zebre,

The Stoop (3pm)

The only imponderable here is the final margin of victory for the home side . Last week in the reverse fixture the English champions scored at will and Conor O’Shea’s side are likely to find it even easier this weekend. Zebre have left internationals like Salvatore Perugini, Matteo Pratichetti and Gonzalo Garcia on the bench.

HARLEQUINS: M Brown; U Monye, M Hopper, T Casson, S Smith; N Evans, D Care; M Lambert, J Gray, W Collier; C Matthews, G Robson; T Guest, C Robshaw (capt), N Easter.

ZEBRE: R Trevisan; G Venditti, S Pace, D Halangahu, L Sarto; L Orquera, A Chillon; A De Marchi, D Giazzon, L Redolfini; M van Vuuren, J Sole; N Cattina (capt), F Ferrarini, D van Schalkwyk.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France).

Verdict: Harlequins.

Pool Five

Exeter Chiefs v Scarlets

Sandy Park (3.40)

Exeter coach Rob Baxter makes six changes to the side that won in Wales last week, one of which sees former Ulster centre Ian Whitten recalled. Simon Easterby’s Scarlets have lost all three matches but do have a fit again George North back on the wing. Despite their abject form and if the Welsh side can dredge up some belief and possession, the outcome of match isn’t a foregone conclusion.

EXETER CHIEFS: P Dollman; J Nowell, S Naqelevuki, I Whitten, G Camacho; G Steenson, H Thomas; B Sturgess, S Alcott, H Tui; A Muldowney, J Hanks; D Mumm, J Scaysbrook (capt), T Johnson.

SCARLETS: L Williams; G North, J Davies (capt), S Williams, G Maule; A Thomas, A Davies; S Hopkins, K Owens, S Lee; S Timani, R Kelly; G Earle, J Edwards, K Murphy.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Verdict: Scarlets

Pool Six

Montpellier v Cardiff Blues

Stade Yves Du Manoir (6pm)

The Welsh side were dreadful in defeat last week, encumbered hugely by the sending off of scrumhalf Lloyd Williams. The French side weren’t much better in victory but obviously don’t fear the visitors too much as they have left Thibault Privat, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Shontayne Hape on the bench.

MONTPELLIER: M Bustos Moyano; T Nagusa, M Carraro, P Bosch, Y Audrin; S Fernandez, J Tomas (capt); Y Watremez, E Van Vuuren, J Figallo; M De Marco, A Fakate; A Bias, K Galletier, J Beattie.

CARDIFF BLUES: J Tovey; A Cuthbert, G Evans, D Hewitt, H Robinson; R Patchell, L Jones; T Filise, R Williams, B Bourrust; L Reed, J Down; J Navidi, S Warburton, A Pretorius (capt).

Referee: Greg Garner (England).

Verdict: Montpellier

SUNDAY

Pool Four

Castres v Glasgow

Stade Pierre-Antoine (12.45, live on Sky Sports)

Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend has made nine changes to the team that was beaten at home by last week and has signalled his intentions by naming five players in the backline who have played on the wing this season. The home side might not facilitate that ambition as they’ll look to strangle the Scots up front.

CASTRES: R Teulet; P Bonnefond, R Cabannes, R Lamerat, M Garvey; R Tales, T Lacrampe; H Lazar, M Bonello, M Coetzee; M Rolland (capt), J Tekori; J Bornman, Y Caballero, P Wannenburg.

GLASGOW : S Maitland; T Seymour, S Lamont, P Horne, DTH Van Der Merwe; R Jackson, N Matawalu; G Reid, P MacArthur, M Low; T Swinson, T Ryder; J Eddie, J Barclay (capt), R Wilson.

Referee: Andrew Small (England).

Verdict: Castres Olympique

Pool Six

Toulon v Sale Sharks

Stade Félix Mayol (3pm)

The simplest way to emphasise the disparity between the teams is to point out the entire Toulon bench would make the Sale starting line-up. The Manchester club were gutsy in defeat last week but this assignment is going to be considerably tougher. Tony Buckley and Cillian Willis are on the bench for Sale.

TOULON: D Armitage; R Wulf, M Mermoz, M Giteau, D Smith; F Michalak, S Tillous-Borde; G Jenkins, J Charles Orioli, D Kubriashvili; B Botha, N Kennedy; P Gunther, S Armitage, J Van Niekerk (capt).

SALE SHARKS: C Shepherd; M Jennings, M Cueto, J Leota, R Miller; D Cipriani, W Cliff; R Harrison, A Croall, E Roberts; R Gray, F McKenzie; J Gaskell, D Seymour (capt), R Vernon.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland).

Verdict: Toulon

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