European Rugby Champions Cup: Montpellier v Newcastle Falcons

Flood, 33, won the last of his 60 England caps in 2013
European Rugby Champions Cup
Venue: Altrad Stadium Date: Saturday, 12 January Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and local radio; live score updates on the BBC Sport website

Toby Flood returns at fly-half as Newcastle attempt to repeat October’s superb win over Montpellier in Pool Five’s reverse fixture.

Tonga international Sonatane Takulua is in at scrum-half while John Hardie and Ryan Burrows come into the back row.

Adam Brocklebank starts at loose-head prop with Trevor Davison shifting to tight-head in place of the injured Logovi’i Mulipola.

Montpellier are led by ex-Northampton number eight Louis Picamoles.

Ex-Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar is at nine for the hosts while Johan Goosen, who controversially ‘retired’ from the sport in 2016 before returning a little over a year later, is at fly-half.

Pool Five
Played Won Points
1. Edinburgh 4 3 15
2. Montpellier 4 2 11
3. Newcastle 4 2 8
4. Toulon 4 1 6

Goosen’s fellow South African Francois Steyn is at full-back.

Newcastle lie third in their table after back-to-back defeats by Edinburgh followed an opening-round success at Toulon and their victory over Montpellier at Kingston Park.

Director of rugby Dean Richards has told his side to revel in their underdog status.

“Montpellier are a little bit more consistent in their performances than Toulon, and there’s no way they will take us lightly,” he said.

“They’ve spent a huge amount of money on their squad and they have a team of superstars, but we’re not particularly bothered about that.

“We’ve come up against teams like that before and beaten them, and we’re just going over with the mind-set of giving it our best and going all-out for the win.”

Montpellier are ninth in the French Top 14 and have lost three of their last four league games.

Line-ups

Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Arscott; Flood (captain), Takulua; Brocklebank, Cooper, Davison, Witty, Young, Graham, Hardie, Burrows

Replacements: Socino, Mavinga, Payne, Green, Chick, Young, Connon, Kibirige

Montpellier: Steyn; Nagusa, Vincent, Reilhac, Immelman; Goosen, Pienaar; Fichten, Giudicelli, Du Plessis, Van Rensburg, Mikautadze, Galletier, Kornath, Picamoles.

Replacements: Ruffenach, Tcheishvili, Chilachava, Ouedraogo, Paillaugue, Serfontein, Martin, Willemse

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