The Champions Cup returns with some mouthwatering clashes, but injuries from the recent autumn internationals have had an impact.
ESPN brings you the latest team news ahead of the weekend’s round three action.
Scotstoun Stadium, 7:45 p.m.
Scotland centre Huw Jones will make his Glasgow debut as Montpellier visit Scotstoun Friday. Finn Russell, Ali Price, Tommy Seymour, Jonny Gray and Zander Fagerson are back in the Warriors side following Scotland duty but Stuart Hogg remains out with a hip injury and both Brian Alainu’uise (knee) and Fraser Brown (concussion) join him on the sidelines.
Montpellier, who narrowly lost out to Exeter Chiefs last time out, bring in Johannes Jonker, Enzo Sange, Aaron Cruden, Julien Bardy and Jan Serfontein into their starting XV, in a much changed side as they look to win away from home for the first time in 10 games.
Parc y Scarlets, 1 p.m.
Ken Owens returns from Wales duty to captain the hosts as Wayn Pivac is able to recall 10 internationals in all. Leigh Halfpenny, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans, Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies, Wyn Jones, John Barclay, Rob Evans and Aled Davies are also included, while Australian second row Steven Cummins is set for his home debut.
Italy international Jayden Hayward returns at fullback as Treviso ring the changes for their trip to West Wales. Tommaso Benvenuti switches to the centres while there is a start on the wing for Marty Ioane. Up front, Tiziano Pasquali and Roberto Barbieri are the only players to retain their place from last weekend’s defeat to Leinster.
Stade Felix Mayol, 3.15 p.m.
Toulon entertain Bath without Malakai Fekitoa as former England wing Chris Ashton retains his spot at fullback. Mathieu Bastareaud switches from inside to outside-centre as Ma’a Nonu returns to the starting lineup. Guilhem Guirado returns at hooker and is joined in the front row by Levan Chilachava, while Romain Taofifenua and Raphael Lakafia are also included in the pack.
Taulupe Faletau returns to the Bath starting XV following his involvement with Wales against South Africa last weekend. His international colleague Rhys Priestland also starts, and will partner Chris Cook at half-back as the latter makes his 100th appearance for the club. Meanwhile, Max Lahiff starts at tighthead in the south of France but the visitors are without England wing Semesa Rokoduguni.
Franklin’s Gardens, 5.30 p.m.
Jim Mallinder has made eight changes to his Saints side as they look to overturn a slump in form. Ahsee Tuala is selected on the right wing while Luther Burrell starts at inside-centre and Piers Francis is handed the No. 10 shirt. Up front, Francois van Wyk comes in for Alex Waller in the front row, David Ribbans and Christian Day start at lock and there is a place in the back row for Lewis Ludlam.
The Ospreys are without 17 injured players for the trip to Northampton but welcome back five players from Wales duty. Alun Wyn Jones captains the side from the second row, while there are starts for Owen Watkin, Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin and Dan Lydiate. Fullback Dan Evans will make his 100th Ospreys appearance, while Olly Cracknell is set for his 50th.
Stade Pierre-Fabre, 5.30 p.m.
Castres have made seven changes as they host Racing looking for their first win in this season’s Champions Cup. Afusipa Taumoepeau, Robert Ebersohn and Florian Vialelle are all handed starts in the backs, while Daniel Kotze, Rodrigo Capo Ortega, Yannick Caballero and Maama Vaipulu are recalled in the forwards.
Teddy Thomas and Maxime Machenaud return to the Racing backline as they travel to Castres. Up front, Camille Chat is included at hooker, while Manuel Carizza and Edwin Maka start in the second row and Leone Nakarawa is shifted to No. 8.
Thomond Park, 7.45 p.m.
Return Ireland internationals Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray and Andrew Conway are all included as Johann van Graan selects his first Champions Cup squad as Munster head coach. Stephen Archer is also handed a start in the front row.
Leicester boss Matt O’Connor welcomes back internationals Jonny May and Luke Hamilton as he makes five changes to his side for the trip to Limerick. Adam Thompstone, Matt Smith and Kyle Traynor also start as the Tigers look to maintain their place at the top of the group.
The Stoop, 1 p.m.
Harlequins will be without captain James Horwill and prop Will Collier as they entertain Ulster. Mike Brown skippers the side in the Australian’s absence, while young fly-half Marcus Smith starts following his late withdrawal last weekend. England prop Kyle Sinckler is recalled in place of Collier while Charlie Matthews is selected in the second row.
Ireland internationals Iain Henderson, Jacob Stockdale and Rob Herring start as Ulster visit south-west London. Henderson is handed the No. 6 shirt and will captain his province in the absence of Rory Best, who is sidelined with a foot infection. Wiehahn Herbst also returns in the front row.
Stade Marcel Deflandre, 1 p.m.
Rene Ranger is set to make his Champions Cup bow for La Rochelle as last year’s Top 14 semifinalists look to take a further step towards qualification for he knockout stages. Their latest signing, Tawera Kerr Barlow will look on from the stands while Alexi Bales starts at scrum-half, alongside Brock James.
Joe Launchbury returns from injury to captain Wasps in France in the only change from the team that defeated Leicester. Nizaam Carr, Gaby Lovobalavu and Ben Harris are about to make their Champions Cup debuts in a game that Wasps need to get something out of if they have hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Allianz Park, 3.15 p.m.
Alex Goode will make his 50th Champions Cup appearance for Sarries in a repeat of last year’s final. Just three players in the starting team didn’t face the French side last May, with Sean Maitland starting on the wing and, Will Skelton and Callum Clark in the pack.
With Camille Lopez, Patricio Fernandez and Luke McAlister all ruled out, Clermont turn to former All Black Isaia Toeava at fly-half. Scott Spedding starts at full-back with scrum-half Morgan Parra taking over the captain’s armband from the injured Damien Chouly. Alivereti Raka and Sitaleki Timani also return as part of 10 changes.
Sandy Park, 5.30 p.m.
Exeter Chiefs make just two changes from the side that beat Bath, with Henry Slade replacing Sam Hill at centre and Jonny Hill coming in for Sam Skinner up front. Rob Baxter’s side currently sit two points behind Leinster in Pool 3, as both teams put their winning starts to the competition on the line.
Leinster have recalled Rob Kearney to fullback, with Isa Nacewa and Fergus McFadden starting on the wings with James Lowe not registered. Jordan Larmour is in line for his first Champions Cup appearance from the bench. Robbie Henshaw has recovered from a hamstring niggle to join Garry Ringrose at centre. Sean O’Brien also returns in the backrow.