French visitors ASM Clermont Auvergne have named a powerful side for the European Challenge Cup clash with Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).


The Pool 1 leaders make 12 changes to the side that defeated Northampton Saints, but still name a side that features France, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and England internationals.  

In front row, Sipili Falatea starts at tighthead for the first time while Julien Ruaud will make his first appearance of the season in the back row.

Number Eight Damien Chouly will make his 150thappearance for Clermont. 

Clermont coach Frank Azéma has vowed his French giants will adopt the right ‘mentality and desire to wear the jersey’ when they arrive at Rodney Parade.

“These are not teams that have the habit of letting go, even though they cannot qualify,” said Azéma. “They will be at home, are facing Clermont, probably in difficult conditions, so we must expect a tough match. 

“That's why we need to be in place mentally and physically to compete with the Welsh and make a big performance during this trip.

“We know that the coming period will be delicate (Six Nations),” he added. 

“We will have to deliver high-level displays without our internationals and without the long-term injured. That's about ten players unavailable.

“It will be an opportunity to give playing time to young players in the group or players who have not been involved. 

“But there is no question of lowering our requirements or the quality of what we want to produce on the field. 

“Everyone who wears the shirt of ASM must have this appetite and the right state of mind, that the group has shown since the beginning of the season. 

“We will see Friday night what we deliver, but there is no question of any compromise on our mentality and the desire to wear the jersey.”

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Clermont: Nick Abendanon, Peter Bentham, George Moala, Apisai Naqalevu, Remy Grosso, Patricio Fernandez, Charlie Cassang; Beqa Kakabadze, Benjamin Kayser, Sipili Falatea, Paul Jedrasiak, Flip Van Der Merwe, Julien Ruaud, Alexadre Fischer, Damien Chouly.

Replacements: Yohan Beheregaray, Loni Uhilia, Mickael Simutoga, Jacobus Van Tonder, Maxence Lemardelet, Kevin Viallard, Dorian Lavernhe, Tani Vili

We will see Friday night what we deliver, but there is no question of any compromise on our mentality and the desire to wear the jersey.
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