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Heineken Cup Pool 4: Harlequins v Racing Metro preview

Last updated: 15th December 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Heineken Cup Pool 4: Harlequins v Racing Metro preview

Jonny Sexton: Starts at fly-half against Harlequins

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British and Irish Lions pair Mike Phillips and Jonny Sexton will start for Racing Metro in Sunday's Heineken Cup clash with Harlequins.

The half-backs came off the bench in last weekend's 32-8 loss to Quins in Nantes but have been promoted for the winner-takes-all clash at the Stoop.

Full-back Juan Martín Hernandez is the only survivor from the starting line-up, with Wales international Dan Lydiate named at blindside flanker.

In contrast, Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has made just one change for the Pool 4 contest.

Tom Casson picked up a knock last week and is replaced at inside centre by New Zealander Tim Molenaar.

Charlie Walker has been retained on the wing, partnering Sam Smith and Mike Brown in the back three, while England international prop Joe Marler is named among the replacements as he makes his return from injury.

"We are under no illusions that they will be a different beast this weekend," said Quins fly-half Nick Evans.

"They weren't at the races as they would like to have been last weekend.

"We know they will come here and be extremely physical. They will want to take the game by the scruff of the neck, put their big set piece into motion and get their big boys over the gainline.

"If it is the Welsh boys or Irish boys, it does add a bit more flavour to it but we will concentrate on ourselves as much as possible.

"We have been playing well at The Stoop. At the start of the season we probably didn't make it a hard a place to come as it had been for the last few years.

"But in the last few games we have really been playing well and teams have been finding it hard to score against us."

Harlequins: 15 Brown, 14 Walker, 13 Hopper, 12 Molenaar, 11 Smith, 10 Evans, 9 Care; 1 Marler, 2 Ward, 3 Collier, 4 Matthews, 5 Robson, 6 Wallace, 7 Robshaw (c), 8 Easter.

Replacements: 16 Gray, 17 Marler, 18 Doran-Jones, 19 Kennedy, 20 Trayfoot, 21 Dickson, 22 Botica, 22 Lindsay-Hague.

Racing Metro: 15 Hernandez, 14 Plante, 13 Chavancy, 12 Roberts, 11 Vakatawa, 10 Sexton, 9 Phillips; 1 Khinchagishvili, 2 Lacombe, 3 Tonga'uiha, 4 Metz, 5 Ghezal, 6 Lydiate, 7 Battut (c), 8 Gerondeau.

Replacements: 16 Maurouard, 17 Arous, 18 Ducalcon, 19 Kruger, 20 Le Roux, 21 Machenaud, 22 Wisniewski, 23 Fall.

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