Saracens have been boosted by the return of prop Mako Vunipola ahead of their all-Heineken Champions Cup Pool A clash with Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday.
A three-time winner of EPCR’s elite competition, Vunipola is selected on his return from suspension and is one of four changes to the XV that started in last Saturday’s 37-31 victory over Bath Rugby, with Christian Judge, Ben Earl and Nick Tompkins also returning.
Hosts Exeter, who open their Heineken Champions Cup campaign away at Castres Olympique on December 10th, have opted for the same side that defeated Bristol 50-14 a fortnight ago as they aim to inflict a first loss of the Premiership season on Sarries.
Saturday’s Premiership action also sees Heineken Champions Cup Pool B side Northampton Saints travel to face Bath.
Saints make three changes from the narrow 32-31 win over Newcastle Falcons last Saturday, with Matt Proctor coming in at outside centre to make his 50th Premiership appearance. Captain Lewis Ludlam returns in the back row, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto another fresh face in the pack.
In Saturday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) action, Irish provinces Leinster Rugby and Munster Rugby face-off at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
2022 Heineken Champions Cup runners-up Leinster make 11 changes to the side that defeated Connacht Rugby 10-0 last Friday. Captain Johnny Sexton returns at fly-half, with the duo Robbie Henshaw and Cian Healy among those also coming into the side.
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Munster also have a returning captain as part of their eight changes, with Jack O’Donoghue returning to the back row.
Hit by injuries, Munster field a youthful side which includes first starts of the season for Diarmuid Barron, Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Rory Scannell and Jack Crowley.
Heineken Champions Cup Pool B side DHL Stormers travel to Wales to face Cardiff Rugby, with tight-head prop Frans Malherbe set to become the South African club’s most-capped ever player when he starts at Cardiff Arms Park.
Edinburgh Rugby are also in action, with Fijian number 8 Viliame Mata set to make his 100th appearance for the Scottish region at Zebre Parma. Wing Wes Goosen is poised to make his debut for the visitors.
In the TOP 14 on Saturday, there’s a host of Heineken Champions Cup clubs in action as Racing 92 host Montpellier Hérault Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne take on Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Castres Olympique travel to RC Toulon and Lyon welcome Section Paloise.
On Sunday, the Premiership offers up an-all Heineken Champions Cup clash as Sale Sharks face Harlequins, the URC see Ospreys travel to Dragons RFC in an all-Welsh affair and in the TOP 14 there’s a re-run of the 2021 Heineken Champions Cup final as Stade Toulousain take on Stade Rochelais.