Toulouse v Oyonnax preview: Visitors’ set to make their Champions Cup bow
Oyonnax make their Champions Cup debut against Toulouse this afternoon: 15:15 kick-off (BT Sport 2)
Toulouse make several changes following 32-7 loss to Saracens last weekend
The visitors have made three changes to their starting XV that was set to start last week prior to their postponment last time out
Oyonnax have made three alterations from the team that was set to start last week as they prepare to face Toulouse in their Champions Cup bow at Stade Ernest Wallon this afternoon.
The visitors, who have risen from the French second tier to the Champions Cup in two seasons, though have had a torrid time of late, picking up only two wins from their eight Top 14 games so far this season.
There trio of changes sees Pierrick Gunther, Leon Power and Antoine Guillamon come in to replace Valentin Ursache, Fabrice Metz and Marc Clerc in the line-up at flanker, lock and tighthead prop respectively for the all-French Champions Cup pool clash.
Meanwhile, Toulouse, who were comfortably beaten 32-7 by Saracens last weekend, will be looking to bounce back at the first time of asking in order to boost their chances of progression.
The hosts are though without Thierry Dusautoir, who is replaced by Imanol Harinordoquy while dynamic forward Talalelei Gray replaces Yacouba Camara on the other flank this weekend.
Toulouse will be looking to avoid consecutive defeats on home soil for the first time in the Champions Cup; thus far they’ve played 65 matches at home without consecutive losses.
Toulouse know that maximum points are required to keep up with Saracens, even if it is only their second match. They are the much better team here due to their international quality while they also have the home advantage. They should win convicningly. Toulouse by 20.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Toulouse: Louis Picamoles
Oyonnax: Fabien Cibray
Toulouse: 15 Clément Poitrenaud, 14 Maxime Médard, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Talalelei Gray, 5 Romain Millo-Chluski, 4 Yoann Maestri (c), 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Nemiah Tialata, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 David Mele, 22 Yann David, 23 Arthur Bonneval.
Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Silvère Tian, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Regis Lespinas, 9 Fabien Cibray (c), 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Olivier Missoup, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Leon Power, 4 George Robson, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Laurent Delboulbès.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Soane Tonga’uiha, 18 Marc Clerc, 19 Valentin Ursache, 20 Pedrie Wannenburg, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Nicky Robinson, 23 Geoffrey Fabbri.
Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)