Grenoble v London Irish preview: New Zealand’s World Cup winner Ben Franks included in the Exiles squad
London Irish travel to France to face Grenoble as they aim to make it back-to-back away wins in the European Challenge Cup
Grenoble are looking to forget last week’s 28-10 defeat at Edinburgh
There are two changes to the Exiles lineup with Jebb Sinclair and Luke Narraway both starting
Last weekend’s win for Irish was their first in all competitions following four straight losses in the Aviva Premiership
Samoa captain, Ofisa Treviranus returns to the matchday selection for London Irish while New Zealand prop Ben Franks could potentially make his debut in the dark green shirt during their trip to Stade des Alpes to face Grenoble in the European Challenge Cup.
The club’s link with St Mary’s University aided Franks’ decision to move from Super Rugby side Hurricanes after agreeing a move in January this year, and the prop will be full of confidence after a successful World Cup campaign.
The hosts have decided to return to their familiar starting lineup that beat Toulon three weeks ago, with Fabien Barcella, Arnaud Héguy, Dayna Edwards starting in the front row.
Supporters have been advised not to arrive at the Stade des Alpes with a bag for today’s game following security fears since last Friday’s Paris attacks, but that was not enough to spoil Irish’s 48-10 victory against Agen last Saturday.
Irish will be optimistic after last week’s opening victory in the Euro Challenge Cup, but Grenoble will prove to be a much sterner test on French soil, with the home side looking to add to their four wins in the Top 14 this season.
Bernard Jackman, Grenoble Head Coach has made eleven changes to his starting lineup that lost to Edinburgh in a bid to change the club’s fortunes including Dayna Edwards, Hendrik Roodt and Nigel Hunt being brought into the side.
A tough game to call but the home side will just edge this game. Irish’s forgettable start to the Aviva Premiership has been put on hold, but as visitors, it will be very hard for London Irish Head Coach, Tom Coventry to win both opening games in Pool 5. Grenoble by 5.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
London Irish: Alex Lewington
The winger will be looking to continue the momentum from a good performance and his two tries last weekend. The 24-year-old’s glowing performances last season caught the attention of many admirers, but consistency will be key if he is to turn up for today’s game.
Grenoble: Peter Kimlin
Kimlin’s short stay in England with Exeter Chiefs may not be the highlight of his career, but he did captain the Brumbies victory over British & Irish Lions in 2013. The experienced flanker showed his quality for the Brumbies after a 40 year wait to beat the Lions. In his third year with Grenoble he will be looking to quieten English fans once again.