London Irish v Agen preview: Exiles begin campaign against Agen
London Irish host Agen in their European Challenge Cup opener this afternoon
The Exiles make nine changes with Johnny Williams and back row Joe Trayfoot making debuts
London Irish open their European Challenge Cup campaign when they host Agen at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon.
Exiles head coach Tom Coventry has shuffled his pack with centre Johnny Williams and Summer signing back row Joe Trayfoot being handed debuts.
Second-row Matt Symons is named captain as George Skivington is rested.
Irish go into the game searching for a first win of the season in all competitions following four consecutive defeats in the Aviva Premiership and the Exiles will fancy their chances as Philippe Sella’s Agen are propping up the Top 14 table after eight rounds of fixtures.
The hosts and Agen are in European Challenge Cup pool five alongside Grenoble and Edinburgh.
Neither side is playing to the standard they would like but with home advantage and a fresh new look about them the hosts should prevail comfortably. London Irish by 15
PLAYERS TO WATCH
London Irish: Sean Maitland
The Exiles were spectacularly unspectacular last season, scoring just 45 tries, so will be hoping Scotland and British Lions international winger Maitland can hit the ground running starting today after he joined this summer from Glasgow Warriors.
Agen: Marc Baget
London Irish: Maitland; Lewington, Tikoirotuma, Williams, Ojo; Noakes, Allinson; Court, Ellis, Aulika, Sheriff, Symons (capt), McCusker, Trayfoot, Guest.
Replacements: Cruse, Smallbone, Halavatau, Sisi, Narraway, Murphy, Brophy-Clews, Waldouck.
Agen: Tardieu; Nakosi, Heriteau, Roux, Deschamps; Guemes, Abadie (capt); Bethune, Barthomeuf, Chocou, Roidot, Marchois, Miquel, Gal, Baget.
Replacements: Morlay, Afatia, Ryan, Bastien, Vergnon, Darbo, Bouvier, Sicart.