Perpignan desperate for victory
January 7, 2010
Henry Tuilagi returns to the Perpignan squad © Getty Images
Perpignan face Racing Metro at the Stade Aime Giral on Friday with their season in desperate need of a boost.
Back-to-back defeats to Munster not only signalled the end of their European ambitions but also the end of their famous home record. With their pride and form in tatters, their domestic recovery was not forthcoming.
First Toulouse and then, far more surprisingly, Brive, took chunks out of the reigning champions and they must stop their slide against Racing, who suffered their own damaging defeat last weekend. Lowly Bourgoin ended their nine-game winning run at the Stade Yves du Manoir and their resolve will be sternly tested regardless of the home side's frailties.
Lionel Nallet did not train this week but starts for the visitors but his normal second-row partner Sebastien Chabal is shifted to No.8. In fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski they have one of the form players in the Top 14, while former All Black Andrew Mehrtens returns to the matchday squad.
Perpignan are boosted by the return of Henry Tuilagi, who is joined in the squad by fellow back-row regulars Jean-Pierre Perez and Gerrie Britz.
Perpignan: Mas, Bourrust, Freshwater, Schuster, Guirado, Tincu, Olibeau, Tchale-Watchou, Alvarez-Kairelis, Perez, Tonita, Britz, Tuilagi, Le Corvec, Durand, Cazenave, Mele, Meyer, Hume, Marty Manas, Sid, Plante, Porical, Michel
Racing Metro: G Goosen; H Chavancy, A Masi, FPL Steyn, P Vakaloa; J Wisniewski, M Loree, A Lo Cicero, C Festuccia, C Baiocco, L Nallet, SV Raiwalui, J Leo'o, JQ Naliko, S Chabal
Replacements: B Noirot, M Tuugahala, S Dellape', R Vaquin, J Fillol, AP Mehrtens, DGR Scarbrough, JP Orlandi
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports