European heavyweights will be vying for supremacy when the Champions Cup returns with the top two clubs in each pool kicking off the key back-to-back fixtures in Rounds 3 and 4.
In a repeat of last season’s compelling final, holders Saracens put their 20-match unbeaten run in the competition to the test against ASM Clermont Auvergne at Allianz Park. Alex Goode scored the match-clinching try back in May at BT Murrayfield Stadium and is in line for his 50th appearance in the European Cup if selected for Sunday’s Pool 2 encounter which will be live on BT Sport with a 3.15 kick-off.
Also coming up in Round 3:
- There are two other fixtures between former competition winners as three-time champions RC Toulon entertain 1998 winners Bath Rugby while Munster Rugby face Leicester Tigers for the ninth time.
- Glasgow Warriors will welcome some familiar faces at Scotstoun against Montpellier tomorrow evening in front of the Sky Sports cameras (7.45). The visitors’ Head Coach, Vern Cotter, and Forwards Coach, Nathan Hines, performed the same roles for Scotland last season.
- As they look to steal a march on Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs in Pool 3, Leinster Rugby know that a win at Sandy Park will be their 100th in the competition.
- La Rochelle have enjoyed life in European club rugby’s blue riband competition thus far, having won both matches in their debut season with a points haul of 75 eclipsed only by Saracens. They play host to a Wasps side hoping to build on their impressive Round 2 win over Harlequins.
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Meanwhile, clubs with an aggregate of 220 Challenge Cup matches under their belts come together at Stade Amédée-Domenech where Pool 5 pace-setters Connacht Rugby look to extend their advantage away to Brive on Saturday night.
Also in Round 3:
- Toulouse are six points away from the Pool 2 summit heading into their clash with TOP 14 rivals Lyon which gets the European action underway this evening.
- The other match in that pool is the only Round 3 tie between two former winners of the Challenge Cup, as Sale Sharks and Cardiff Blues clash for their first meeting in the competition at AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.
- Newcastle Falcons took a firm grip of Pool 1 with victory in France last time out over Bordeaux-Bègles. The TOP 14 side have an immediate chance to avenge that loss as they head to Kingston Park in front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday, but they have lost each of their three Challenge Cup contests against the Falcons.
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In the Continental Shield, Timisoara Saracens have impressed so far by winning each of their opening matches and the Romanians can take a firm stride towards progression from Pool A with victory at home to Pataro Rugby Calvisano on Saturday. RC Batumi head Pool B and the Georgians go to Italy to take on Rugby Viadana. Two clubs will qualify from the competition for the 2018/19 Challenge Cup.
Click HERE for Continental Shield fixtures, results and pools