It’s been another busy week for our Heineken Champions Cup sides with just a month to go until the start of Europe’s elite club competition. We take a look at some of the news you may have missed this week.
Evans could be back for season opener
Scarlets fans will be delighted to hear the news earlier this week that prop Rob Evans does not need surgery on a shoulder injury sustained in last week’s PRO14 match against Leinster Rugby.
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac said the 26-year-old felt a strain before the match and was replaced as a precaution.
“It’s good news actually, Rob’s a bit sore but no surgery is required so that’s very pleasing,” Pivac said.
“We’ll have to wait another week and we’ll have a better idea on timelines.
“Rob’s probably the best scenario, hopefully we’ll have him back in two to three weeks.”
He could be available for Scarlets’ opening Heineken Champions Cup pool stage match against last year’s finalists Racing 92.
🤕 | "No surgeries are required to @Revsprop1 or @JoshMacleod1 so that’s very pleasing. We’ll reassess them again next week and we’ll have a better idea on timelines. Rob’s probably the best scenario and we'll hopefully have him back in two to three weeks." Wayne Pivac pic.twitter.com/R5lSotOdGP
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) September 11, 2018
Watson returns and Hickey handed Murrayfield debut
Edinburgh Rugby will hand a home debut against Connacht Rugby on Friday to former Blues fly-half Simon Hickey who has joined the Scottish side during the off-season. He spent the past four seasons with Bordeaux-Bègles before moving to the BT Murrayfield club.
Scotland flanker Hamish Watson will also return to the starting XV after being unavailable last week due to the birth of his first child.
📰 | Watson returns for @connachtrugby crunch match.
🗣️ “It would be great to have a big crowd and get in front of our own supporters. We’ve got to match their passion with a fine performance."
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) September 13, 2018
South Africans set for first competitive starts
Challenge Cup finalists Gloucester Rugby are set to give competitive starts to summer signings Franco Marais and Gerbrandt Grobler.
The hooker made an appearance against Bath Rugby last weekend but both players will get a taste of a West Country derby from the beginning on Friday night.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) September 13, 2018
Tigers’ Tuilagi turns heads
Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi showed the type of exceptional pace and power that he’s capable of last weekend against Newcastle Falcons. His 23rd-minute try duly won the Premiership’s try of the week award as a result.
The 27-year-old tore away down the middle of the pitch after breaking a Falcons tackle on halfway and he dived over the try line for a spectacular score.
Tuilagi’s career has been punctuated by injuries but he should be available, and by the looks of it on superb form, for Leicester Tigers’ Heineken Champions Cup opener against Ulster Rugby on October 13.
— ugo monye (@ugomonye) September 8, 2018
Larmour looking for home comforts
Defending Champions Cup and PRO14 holders Leinster Rugby host Dragons this weekend in their seasonal home opener at The RDS.
The Irish province swept all before them last season in a record-breaking year, but wing Jordan Larmour has insisted that ‘people are going to try to come and get us.’
"It's the first home game at the RDS – it's a great place to play – so hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer about."
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) September 12, 2018
Beirne handed first Munster Rugby start
Ireland lock Tadhg Beirne is in line for a first Munster Rugby start tonight after being named in the side to take on Ospreys at Irish Independent Park.
Beirne enjoyed a stellar campaign last season with Scarlets, helping them reach a Champions Cup semi-final and winning Try of the Season after finishing a stunning team score against Bath Rugby in last year’s pool stages.
He has since made his first senior appearance in the Ireland national team on their successful summer tour of Australia.
— Tadhg Beirne (@longdogbeirne) May 30, 2018
Michalak made consultant at Lyon
Lyon are making their Heineken Champions Cup debut next month and will have the benefit of advice from a four-time winner following Monday’s announcement that Frédéric Michalak has been appointed consultant to the TOP 14 club.
The 35-year-old French international retired from playing at the end of last season after scoring 11 points in four games for Lyon in the Challenge Cup.
He said of his appointment on the club website: “I am delighted to be able to start my second ‘life’ at Lyon and to be able to bring my expertise and experience to the club. To work!”
Lyon open their new European term with a home game against Cardiff Blues on October 14. They are also paired with Glasgow Warriors and Saracens in Pool 3.
.@MichalakFred reste au @LeLOURugby ! Le « jeune retraité » ne s’est jamais éloigné du club et va poursuivre ses missions au sein du staff !https://t.co/eumyZrievE #TEAMLOU #TOP14 pic.twitter.com/MsI0n4dAJa
— LOU Rugby (@LeLOURugby) September 10, 2018