European Rugby Champions Cup
Venue: Sandy Park Date: Sunday, 1-3 January Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sport extra along with BBC local radio; live text Comment on the BBC Sport website

Jack Nowell makes his Exeter comeback because the Chiefs prepare for some must-win Champions Cup match against Castres.

Nowell, who last played for Exeter in October, has recovered from the hamstring injury sustained on England duty to come in at fullback.

Fellow England international Alec Hepburn is in at prop, using flanker Don Armand straight back entailed after being rested for its win over Bristol.

Castres prefer Ludovic Radosavljevic to Rory Kockott in Scrum Half.

Pool Two would be the most acceptable of five collections after four rounds of games with only 4 points separating leaders Munster from Exeter and Gloucester in third and fourth respectively.

Munster421 22. Castres4293. Exeter4Inch84. Gloucester429

With a visit to Thomond Park to come in the last group of games, director of rugby Rob Baxter has called on Exeter to fulfill their reputation for a team for your big experiences.

“I have thought for the lads, if we go to Munster with something to play , you are efficiently in the last 16 of Europe,” he said.

“If we win this week and then we go there with something to fight , it’s probably a right knockout game and you’d probably get that in a lot of methods.”

Castres are reigning Best 14 champions, but have been around in indifferent form this season and currently lie patiently at the French top flight.

They procured a controversial 13-12 home win over Munster last time outside in Europe. Kockott and replacement hooker Marc-Antoine Rallier were mentioned and suspended following the game for foul play.

“We see an excellent side, there is a lot of dangers there since they revealed by coming straight back from being 14 points down against us and working back their way to a win,” added Baxter.

“There’s going to be a lot of challenges there, but if you understand there’s a lot of challenges probably the most crucial things to do is focus on your own.

“We’ve traditionally played nicely against French teams when our backs have been against the walls thus let us make sure it brings the most out of us and we all love your afternoon.”


Exeter: Nowell; Cordero, Slade, Devoto, O’Flaherty; Simmonds, White; Hepburn, Yeandle (captain), Francis, Dennis, Hill, Skinner, Armand, Kvesic.

Montpellier: Palis ; Paris, Combezou, Ebersohn (captain), Smith ; Urdapilleta, Radosavljevic; Tichit, Jenneker, Kotze, Lassalle, Jacquet, Gerondeau, Delaporte, Vaipulu.

Replacements: Firmin, Stroe, M. Clerc, Mafi, Jelonch, Tulou, Vialelle, Kockott.

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