Heineken Champions Cup: Harlequins v Montpellier (Sat)

Will Evans with Jack Kenningham
After breaking his leg in April 2021, Will Evans (right), missed the final Harlequins Premiership-winning season.
Date:Saturday 16 April Kick-off:12:02 GMT Venue:The Stoop
Coverage: Live commentary at BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, and online
Montpellier lead 40-26 after first leg

Will Evans replaces Tom Lawday as openside flanker. Harlequins are trying to overcome a 14-point deficit with French high-fliers Montpellier to make it to the Champions Cup final eight.

Joe Marchant and Andre Esterhuizen make a strong backs pairing.

For Montpellier, Zach Mercer, English number eight, drops to the bench.

The 24-year-old scored 2 tries and was named man for the match in his team's 40-26 victory last weekend.

Springbok Handre pollard joins the team as an inside centre. This is in addition to his usual fly half role. France international Guilhem Guirado is back at hooker.

If Harlequins manage to complete their comeback at Stoop they will face French opposition in the quarterfinals. This year's runners-up Bordeaux-Begles and La Rochelle are waiting.

La Rochelle are favorites to win the next leg, with a record 31-13 aggregate score before their home leg.

They say

Adam Jones, Harlequins scrum coach:“It's not over, I think, if we look back over our results over the past 18 months.

“The performance in the first half was not good enough. However, to only be 14 points down overall and have 34-0 at 50 minutes isn't too bad.

“Montpellier likely felt they needed more than a 21-point lead, so I'm sure they will be a bit frustrated. However, we know that they will be tough opponents back on the Stoop.”

Match stats

  • Montpellier averaged 182 successful tackles per match in Champions Cup this season. No other team has done more than 150. Harlequins have the lowest average number of successful tackles per match this season (99), but they have the most possession in 2021-22 (55%).
  • Louis Lynagh of Harlequins ran 203m in just nine carries against Montpellier. His average carry rate of 22.6m was the highest among players who made more than five plays in a single game this season.

Line-ups

Harlequins: Jones; Lynagh, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Murley; Smith, Care; Marler, Walker, Collier, Symons, Tizard, Hammond, Evans, Dombrandt (capt.)

Replacements: Gray, Kerrod, Louw, Jurevicius, Wallace, Gjaltema, Edwards, David

Montpellier: Tisseron; Ngandebe, Reilhac, Pollard, Lucas; Foursans, Eymeri; Nariashvili, Guirado, Thomas, Verhaeghe, Willemse, Ouedraogo, Camara, Becognee.

Substitutes: Rodgers and Lamositele, Maurouard, Rodgers and Lamositele. Mercer, Doan Doumayrou, Bouthier and Chalureau.

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