Heineken Champions Cup: Saturday’s previews and team news | Rugby Union News

Joe Marchant is back for Harlequins as they face Cardiff

Joe Marchant is back for Harlequins as they face Cardiff

We preview the three Heineken Champions Cup matches still going ahead in the second round of pool matches on Saturday, with Harlequins hosting Cardiff, Glasgow Warriors facing Exeter Chiefs and Munster taking on Castres…

Harlequins vs Cardiff (1pm, Pool B)

The build-up: Cardiff are still without a large proportion of their squad for the second round of Champions Cup pool stage matches, although will have been encouraged by the battling performance their patched-up side produced in last week’s 39-7 loss to reigning European kings Toulouse.

They now travel to Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins, who had to hold off a late fightback away to Castres before emerging 20-18 victors against the French side in their Pool B opener.

European Cup matches postponed over French travel restrictions

Most European matches involving French and British clubs this weekend have been postponed, tournament organiser EPCR has announced.

Quins will be seeking to score a rare European success in this Anglo-Welsh clash, having won just one, drawn two and lost five of their previous eight Champions Cup games against Cardiff.

Team news: Quins make four changes to their starting XV from the win in Castres, including Joe Marchant returning to the back line on the wing. Will Hobson and Mak Wilson could make their European debuts from the replacements bench.

Cardiff also have four changes to their starting line-up, with academy full-back Cameron Winnett handed his debut. Evan Yardley replaces the injured Iestyn Harris at hooker, Sam Moore slots in at No. 8 and Rey Lee-Lo is back in the team at outside centre.

What they’re saying: “We saw in Cardiff’s match against Toulouse last Saturday that they have real fight despite their disruption over recent weeks. We know we can’t rest on our laurels as we welcome them to our home ground.”

– Harlequins scrum coach and former Cardiff prop Adam Jones

“Defensively, there are a couple of tweaks there, but we can use this game as another exciting one, because they’re the English champions.”

– Cardiff academy manager and caretaker head coach Gruff Rees

Named teams

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green; 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley; 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Santiago Garcia Gotta, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Simon Kerrod, 4 Hugh Tizard, 5 Stephen Lewies (c), 6 Tom Lawday, 7 Jack Kenningham, 8 Alex Dombrant.

Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Will Hobson, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Viliami Taulani, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Luke Northmore, 23 Louis Lynagh.

Cardiff: 15 Cameron Winnett; 14 Josh Adams, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Theo Cabango; 10 Dan Fish, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Rowan Jenkins, 2 Evan Yardley, 3 Will Davies-King, 4 Alun Lawrence, 5 Seb Davies, 6 Ellis Jenkins (c), 7 James Botham, 8 Sam Moore.

Replacements: 16 Alun Rees, 17 Nathan Evans, 18 Geraint James, 19 Rhys Anstey, 20 Alex Mann, 21 Ethan Lloyd, 22 Ioan Evans, 23 Ryan Wilkins.

Glasgow Warriors vs Exeter Chiefs (5.30pm, Pool A)

The build-up: Glasgow return to Scotstoun aiming to rebound from defeat on the opening weekend of this season’s Champions Cup after going down 20-13 and having to settle for a losing bonus point away to last season’s runners-up La Rochelle last Sunday.

Exeter, on the other hand, could hardly have asked for a much better start as the 2020 European champions stormed to a 42-6 win over Montpellier at Sandy Park on the back of a hat-trick from former Glasgow player Jonny Gray.

The Warriors have an impressive home record against Premiership opposition in this competition, losing just two of their last 12 games against English clubs at Scotstoun. However, the Chiefs are unbeaten in their previous eight pool-stage matches.

Team news: Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson has made just one change to his starting XV for this match, bringing Jamie Bhatti into the front row in place of Oli Kebble, who drops to the replacements bench.

It is a similar story for Exeter, who bring Sam Nixon in at tighthead in place of Josh Iosefa-Scott. Up-and-coming prop Patrick Schickerling could make his European bow off the bench.

What they’re saying: “Leaving La Rochelle with a losing bonus-point gives us a big opportunity this weekend; however, again we will need to produce another physical display and take our opportunities to get a home win against another good Exeter team.”

Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson

“You’re in the Heineken Cup to battle your way through an incredible competition, so you have to be willing to roll your sleeves up and get on with things – and that’s exactly what we have to do on Saturday.”

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter

Named teams

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay; 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Cole Forbes; 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Ali Price (c); 1 Jamie Bhatti, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Richie Gray, 6 Matt Fagerson, 7 Rory Darge, 8 Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Thomas Gordon, 22 George Horne, 23 Duncan Weir.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg; 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Tom O’Flaherty; 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Sam Nixon, 4 Jonny Gray, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Sam Skinner, 8 Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Don Armand, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Hendrickson.

Munster vs Castres (8pm, Pool B)

The build-up: Munster kicked off their quest for a third European crown with a 35-18 win away to Wasps despite several Covid-enforced absences, although that performance has been somewhat overshadowed by the news of head coach Johann van Graan’s departure for Bath at the end of the season.

As well as being edged out at home to Harlequins last week and seeking to get their European campaign back on track, Castres head to Thomond Park aiming to end a dismal record of failing to win any of their last 12 games in Ireland.

This will mark the 17th time these two sides have played each other – the most of any fixture in the history of the competition – with Munster having won each of their seven home games against the French side.

Team news: Munster have five changes to the team which scored a bonus-point win over Wasps. Ben Healy starts at fly-half, while Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn and Jack O’Donoghue all come into the pack.

Castres have opted to make several changes for the match too. Bastien Guillemin, Santiago Arata, Wilfrid Hounkpatin, Loic Jacquet, Theo Hannoyer, Simon Meka and Kevin Kornath all come into the starting XV.

What they’re saying: “We’ve had some spicy games against Castres – if you think about our last one we played there, I think we lost 13-12. The previous one at Thomond Park was a brilliant rugby game. It’s two teams that know each other very well in Europe.”

Munster head coach Johan van Graan

Named teams

Munster: 15 Patrick Campbell; 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Keith Earls; 10 Ben Healy, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Dave Kilcoyne, 2 Niall Scannell, 3 John Ryan, 4 Jean Kleyn, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 7 John Hodnett, 8 Jack O’Donoghue.

Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Keynan Knox, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Alex Kendellen.

Leinster upset at Montpellier cancellation | Bristol wait

Leinster have expressed their disappointment at Friday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Montpellier being cancelled and a 28-0 victory handed to the French side.

Castres: 15 Thomas Larregain; 14 Bastien Guillemin, 13 Pierre Aguillon, 12 Thomas Combezou, 11 Filipo Nakosi; 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Santiago Arata; 1 Wayan De Benedittis, 2 Paul Ngauamo, 3 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 4 Loic Jacquet (c), 5 Theo Hannoyer, 6 Nick De Crespigny, 7 Simon Meka, 8 Kevin Kornath.

Replacements: 16 Brice Humbert, 17 Julius Nostadt, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Mateaki Kafatolu, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Louis Le Brun, 23 Antoine Zeghdar.

Saturday’s matches between Bristol Bears and La Rochelle, and Sale Sharks and Clermont Auvergne have been postponed due to travel restrictions brought in by the French government.

– Racing 92 have been awarded a 28-0 win and five competition points after Ospreys were forced to call of their match due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the squad.

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