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Toilet vs Clermont
7:45pm Friday 6th December
Two groups in dire need of victory collide at the Rec on Friday night as Bath and Clermont attempt to continue to keep their Champions Cup hopes alive.
Toilet have failed to score a try in their last two outings and have been about a three-game losing streak. The bonus points gained against Ulster although they sit bottom of Pool 3 and Harlequins means they have a probability of reaching the knockout stages.
Clermont have looked unstoppable at Stade Marcel Michelin within the previous two months but theyve proven a soft centre on the road. Their three off fixtures have ended in defeat.
Fridays match is Baths 100th at the Champions Cup, and their first against Clermont. Listed below are just four match-ups which could determine the outcome…
Old boy Abendanon makes an emotional return to the Rec, using blasted for Clermont in 2014 after making over 200 appearances for the West Country club.
The full-back is expectingrotten weather – he can also expect an aerial bombardment as Toilet look to play with the conditions.
As the 33-year-old will penalize any punts downfield, those kicks should be exact.
Homer led the way with five defenders beaten and returned from Saracens into the Bath line-up. They need more of that creative spark against opposition.
Priestland kicked Saracens Baths points all along with his accuracy from the boot will be crucial.
The Wales fly-half has tried to ignite the lacklustre assault of Bath, which makes two line breaks and beating three defenders.
Given the Rec pitch against Sarries condition, land is likely so the Bath pack can try to pressurise their competitions to be his principal attention.
Lopez has developed an impressive half-back partnership with Morgan Parra and when in the mood he is capable of unleashing the best of defences, to offloading in touch, from pinpoint cross-field cries.
He has a penchant for a reduction goal but Lopez could go lost in games in keeping with the stereotype of. Toilet will hope Friday is one of the off nights.
Therell be an enthralling breakdown battle between these two heavyweight No 8s.
Although World Cup winner Louw is a master poacher lee has created a tournament-leading five turnovers at the opening of Clermont two games. His existence in the Toilet back row will help alleviate Sam Underhills lack.
If Lee and his cans frustrate by slowing their ruck ball down, it may be the catalyst to a famous victory.
His global venture with Jamie Roberts along with joseph returns to the Bath midfield will be put into the test from the centre duo of Clermont.
Joseph brings defensive solidity , which is timely following Bath missed 14 tackles and conceded 13 penalties, as well as being a potent attacking threat.
Opposite Joseph is the experienced and most versatile Toerag, who won the last of his 36 New Zealand caps in the 2011 World Cup and begins alongside fellow All Black George Moala.
Riot ran in the opening-round triumph and business will have taken note of how they were subdued by Ulster in round two.
Toilet: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook; 1 Beno Obano, two Tom Dunn, 3 May Stuart, 4 Josh McNally, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Mike Williams, 7 Josh Bayliss, 8 Francois Louw (c).
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Rhys Davies, 21 Can Chudley, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Aled Brew.
Clermont Auvergne: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Samuel Ezeala, 13 Isaiah Toeava, 12 George Moala, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra (c); 1 Loni Uhila, 2 Yohan Beheregaray, 3 Rabah Slimani, 4 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 6 Alexandre Fischer, seven Alexandre Lapandry, 8 Fritz Lee.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Giorgi Beria 19 Julien Ruaud, 20 Faifili Levave, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Peter Betham, 23 Apisai Naqalevu.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland).
Read more: f1radical.com