Saracens - European Preview: Lyon (H)

Oct 18, 2018

European Preview: Lyon (H)


Twitter: @LeLOURugby
Ground: Stade de Gerland
Capacity: 25,000

Champion de France - 1932, 1933
Rugby Pro D2 - 2011, 2014, 2016
Challenge Yves du Manoir – 1933
Fédérale 1 – 2002
Deuxième Division - 1989, 1992

Last season:
Top 14: 5th
European Challenge Cup: Pool Stage
Top 14 Top Scorer: Lionel Beauxis, Michael Harris


Lyon’s maiden season in the Heineken Champions Cup began in defeat against Cardiff Blues last weekend. The French club qualified for the competition after a fifth-place finish in last season’s Top 14 – ahead of three-time finalists Clermont Auvergne and 2017 Challenge Cup winners Stade Français. Before their opener, all 24 of their European matches had been in the Challenge Cup, where their record is split – 12 wins and 12 defeats. The Wolfpack have developed a lot in recent years, winning promotion from Pro D2, the second tier of French rugby, back in 2016 under head coach Pierre Mignoni and now have the chance to showcase their talent on the highest stage in the Northern Hemisphere.


Mignoni has overseen Lyon’s unconventional rise to the Heineken Champions Cup Pool Stage since 2015. The Toulon-born former scrum-half rebuilt the squad and the club’s mentality along the way and has helped the club through a remarkable change in such a short space of time. As a player, the 41-year-old, who won 28 caps for France, made a total of 70 European appearances for Toulon, Beziers, Dax and Clermont Auvergne, scoring 20 tries. He also won the Challenge Cup with Clermont in 2007. He is assisted by Karim Ghezal (forwards), Kendrick Lynn (backs) and David Attoub (scrum), all of whom are former Lyon players.


Liverpool-born Fearns came through the ranks at Sale Sharks, winning man of the match on his debut against Cardiff Blues in the LV= Cup in 2008. He captained England at Under-18 level and was part of the Under-20s which reached the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship final; his performances in that tournament led to him being nominated for Junior Player of the Year. Fearns spent four years at Bath from 2011 and moved to France with Lyon when it became apparent his England dream wasn’t likely to become a reality. The back rower has since declared his interest in playing for France.

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