Champ Cup team news: Launchbury returns


The Champions Cup is back after a five month absence as 20 teams from seven countries compete for European club rugby’s coveted prize.

Saracens are looking to emulate the Toulon side of 2013-2015 in winning a third Champions Cup in a row, while La Rochelle make their debut in the top flight.

The first round gets underway on Friday at the Kingspan with Ulster hosting Wasps as Charles Piutau lines up against his former club.

Get all the team news below and keep abreast of the action with ESPN.

FRIDAY

Ulster vs. Wasps

Kingspan, 7.45 p.m.

British & Irish Lions flanker Iain Henderson will captain Ulster for the first time as Les Kiss names a starting XV that features 12 internationals.

Kiss has made three personnel changes from their win over Connacht in the PRO14, with Henderson shifting to the second row while Robbie Diack and Sean Reidy come in at blindside and openside respectively. In the backline, Louis Ludik earns selection on the right wing while Christain Lealiifano will make his European debut from fly-half. Rory Best remains out injured.

Wasps are bolstered by the return of captain Joe Launchbury as well as England back row Nathan Hughes and fly-half Jimmy Gopperth. Christain Wade has been recalled on the right wing as has Dan Robson at scrum-half.

England’s Elliot Daly and James Haskell also start, while Springboks star Willie le Roux will wear the No. 15 jersey.