The Pro D2 completes the first block of the 2022-2023 championship this weekend and, for FC Grenoble, it is happening again at the Stade des Alpes. A week after defeating Rouen, then 1st (20-6 victory), the Isérois attack Aurillac (current 5th), still at the Stade des Alpes (kick-off at 7:30 p.m.). A great opportunity to garner a fourth success in five days and, potentially, to seize the leader’s chair (in the event of a misstep from Mont-de-Marsan to Montauban).
To meet this challenge, the Grenoble staff changed their starting XV by a third, with five newcomers to the team. In the front row, props Zack Gauthier and Régis Montagne will start the game, while Zurabi Zhvania and Sam Nixon will be replaced this time.
The versatility of Halaifonua and Muarua
Within the pack, Thibaut Martel regains a starting position, as a flanker, while Tanginoa Halaifonua and Pio Muarua “switch” their places: the Tongan goes back down to the 2nd line to push alongside José Madeira, while the Fijian goes down to 3rd line, to compensate for the absence of Talalelei Gray as n°8.
The three-quarter line has undergone two changes, with the return to the center of Bautista Ezcurra (substitute against the Normans, then used at full-back); the Argentinian rated as a second centre, alongside Australian Terrence Hepetema.
Finally, the young Wilfried Hulleu (20 years old) is condemned to take the place of the right winger Lucas Dupont, victim of a concussion against the Normans and forced rest this week.
The Haut-Savoyard – who will honor his first tenure of the season, after playing four Pro D2 games last season – will be one of the three youngsters from the training center called up for this match.
Ten FCG-trained players on the scoresheet
The Gengenbecher-Heguy-Nadau trio has indeed summoned, among the substitutes, the Espoirs scrum half Kelian Boissier (20), who makes up for the absence of Eric Escande and could experience his first minutes of play as a professional.
Finally, the Red and Blue reunited with pleasure Mathis Sarragallet (22 years old). Recovered from a serious injury to the cruciate ligaments of the knee, the Voironnais will be a substitute hooker for this meeting against the Aurillacois. A bench which again welcomes the 3rd line Antonin Berruyer and the center Romain Fusier, who failed after being defeated in Oyonnax (13-46).
PLEASE NOTE: the Grenoble – Aurillac match can be followed live on www.ledauphine.com/sport on Friday evening from 7 p.m.
FC Grenoble against Aurillac
H. Trouilloud – W. Hulleu, B. Ezcurra, Hepetema, Qadiri – (o) Barthélémy, (m) F. Ezcurra – Blanc-Mappaz (cap), Muarua, Martel – Halaifonua, Madeira – Montagne, Orioli, Gauthier.
Replacements: Sarragallet, Zhvania, Nixon, Douglas, Berruyer, Boissier, R. Trouilloud, Fusier.