Agen v Edinburgh preview: Agen looking to bounce back on home soil
Agen hosts Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup tonight: 18:30 kick-off
Tonga wing Otulea Katoa will make his first start for Edinburgh as they look to make it back-to-back European wins
Clement Darbo continues to captain Agen following their heavy defeat away to London Irish Last weekend
Tonga wing Otulea Katoa will make his first start for Edinburgh tonight when the Scottish side faces Agen in Round 2 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup in France.
The French side, who currently sit bottom of the Top 14, conceded eight tries against London Irish last weekend but will be hoping for better things when they play their first home game of the new campaign this evening.
Clement Darbo continues tp captain Agen while Samoa international prop Viliamu Afatia is one the bench for the hosts.
Coached by Christophe Deylaud, Agen have won their last two games on home soil and have a good record against their opponents, twice beating Edinburgh during the 2006/07 Heineken Cup.
The Scottish side nevertheless has won six of their last seven matches against French opposition in the Challenge Cup.
Edinburgh also got their European adventure off to a positive start seven days ago when they continued their good form in the Pro 12 with a comfortable win over pool 5 rivals Grenoble but they will have been disappointed not to touch down a fourth try for a bonus point.
The visitors hand a first start to Katoa, meaning a switch from left to right for Tom Brown with Damien Hoyland dropping out.
In the absence of Mike Coman, hooker Ross Ford skippers Edinburgh while Scotland under-20 captain and back-row Jamie Ritchie is named on the bench.
Agen were bad last weekend and will be hoping that they are much-improved now they are back on home soil. Edinburgh, on the other hand, got their campaign off to a good start and with their overall excellent form and quality available for selection, especially in the back-row, they are the clear favourites here. However, you should never write off Agen at home. Edinburgh by 7.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Agen: Clement Darbo
Since joining Agen in 2013, the creative playmaker has played a crucial role in the French side’s recent success. The 29-year-old is yet to hit top form this season but if he can get his running game going he could play a significant part in Agen perhaps upsetting the odds and getting the win tonight.
Edinburgh: Cornell Du Preez
The South African-born number 8 put in a man of the match display for Edinburgh as they got their Challenge Cup campaign off to the perfect start last weekend. The 24-year-old, part of arguably one of the best, 8, 9, 10 combinations in the Challenge Cup this year, once again proved his star quality with two tries to help put Grenoble to the sword. A first senior cap for the Springboks could well be on its way very soon.
Agen: Francois Tardieu, Leka Tagotago, Pierre Fouyssac, Julien Heriteau, Filipo Nakosi, Francois Bouvier, Clement Darbo (capt); Quentin Bethune, Marc Barthomeuf, Nicolas Chocou, Jean-Baptiste Roidot, Leo Bastien, Sione Tau, Antoine, Miquel, Marc Baget.
Replacements: Florian Dufour, Viliamu Afatia, Dave Ryan, Corentin Braendlin, Felicien Vergnon, Baptiste Cadiou, Timothe Guillimin, Benoit Sicart.
Edinburgh: Dougie Fife, Tom Brown, Will Helu, Matt Scott, Otulea Katoa, Greig Tonks, Sean Kennedy; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford (capt), WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Fraser McKenzie, Nasi Manu, John Hardie, Cornell Du Preez.
Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Rory Sutherland, Simon Berghan, Alex Toolis, Jamie Ritchie, Nathan Fowles, Blair Kinghorn, Chris Dean.
Date: Friday, November 20
Venue: Stade Armandie