Champions Cup Rugby – Previews, Team News & Kick off times for Ulster, Munster & Leinster

The eagerly awaited Champions cup returns this weekends with Saracens looking to join an exclusive club with three victories in a row.

There is only three Irish clubs involved this year with Connacht missing out on qualification after a poor season last year.

All three Irish teams are in tough groups and will have to be on their mettle if they are to get through.

Ulster V Wasps- Kingspan Stadium,  Belfast Kick Off 7.45: Ulster are the first team into action when they face off with Wasps at home on Friday Night and it’s a huge game for the northern province as defeat here would make it very difficult to qualify and after a poor past few seasons in the competition Less Kiss’s men are looking to make up for lost time.  In team news for the game Ian Henderson will lead the side in the absence of Rory Best while there are three changes from the Connacht victory last week with Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy and Louis Ludik all coming into the team. Wasps on the other hand are able to welcome former Leinster out half Jimmy Gopperth back into the team as they look to make a bright start.  Harlequins and La Rochelle are the other two teams in the pool.

Ulster (v Wasps):

15. Charles Piutau
14. Louis Ludik
13. Luke Marshall
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Christian Lealiifano
9. John Cooney

1. Kyle McCall
2. Rob Herring
3. Wiehahn Herbst
4. Kieran Treadwell
5. Iain Henderson (captain)
6. Robbie Diack
7. Sean Reidy
8. Jean Deysel


16. John Andrew
17. Callum Black
18. Rodney Ah You
19. Matthew Rea
20. Clive Ross
21. Paul Marshall
22. Peter Nelson
23. Tommy Bowe

Wasps (v Ulster):

15. Willie Le Roux
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Brendan Macken
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Dan Robson

1. Matt Mullan
2. Tom Cruse
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury (captain)
5. Will Rowlands
6. James Haskell
7. Thomas Young
8. Nathan Hughes


16. Ashley Johnson
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Marty Moore
19. James Gaskell
20. Jack Willis
21. Joe Simpson
22. Rob Miller
23. Marcus Watson


Leinster V Montpellier- Saturday RDS Arena- Kickoff 13.00: It’s an early start for Leinster on Saturday lunchtime as they make their European bow with a home game against familiar foes Montpellier. As with Ulster its vital they get a good start at home and after going so close to a final last year the boys in blue will be itching to get out on the field. Montpellier are flying in the top 14 in France with Ruan Pienaar in their ranks but Leinster with their array of Lions back in situ will feel they can begin with a win. It’s bound to be a tight group with English champions Exeter and 2016 Pro 12 winners Glasgow also in it.

Castres v Munster: Sunday Stade Pierre Fabre- kick off 13.00; Munster are the last of the Irish representatives out in the Champions Cup this weekend and arguably they have the toughest task. A trip to France is never easy and they have two trips to make in this group as Racing Metro who they defeated on two occasions last year are also involved. Leicester Tigers are the final team but all Munster’s eyes will be on Castres and after defeat to Leinster in the interpro derby last weekend, Munster are going to have to up their game if they are to come away from France with anything.




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