No.8 Alex Dombrandt is set to make his 100th appearance for Harlequins as they welcome fellow Heineken Champions Cup side London Irish in Gallagher Premiership on Saturday.
Dombrandt was one of Quins’ standout performers in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup, scoring seven tries in six games, and is likely to be a key figure again when they begin their Pool A campaign at Cell C Sharks on December 10.
The England international comes in as one of four changes to the XV that started last Sunday’s 29-13 win at Sale Sharks, with lock George Hammond and centre Lennox Anyanwu brought in along with wing Josh Bassett for his Quins debut.
Bassett’s inclusion sees Tommaso Allan slot in at fly-half with Nick David filling in at full-back. There are also Quins milestones prop Wilco Louw and flanker Will Evans, who both retain their starting berths to reach 50 appearances for the club.
London Irish, who kick off this season’s Heineken Champions Cup at home to Montpellier Hérault Rugby on December 9, have made eight changes from last Friday’s 22-21 defeat to Gloucester Rugby.
Prop Will Goodrick-Clarke and hooker Mike Willemse come into the front row, with lock Chunya Munga and flankers Josh Basham and Ben Donnell the other introductions in the pack.
Scrum-half Caolan Englefield, centre Luca Morisi and full-back Tom Parton are brought into the back line.
Northampton Saints are the other Heineken Champions Cup side in Premiership action on Saturday and have made eight changes following last Saturday’s 27-14 loss at Bath Rugby.
Prop Emmanuel Iyogun, hooker Mike Haywood, lock Alex Moon and flankers Sam Graham and Aaron Hinkley come into the pack, while fly-half Fin Smith makes his Saints debut.
Full-back George Hendy makes his first Premiership start, with Rory Hutchinson returning at inside centre, captain Fraser Dingwall switching to outside centre and Matt Proctor shifting to the wing.
Wheels on the wing, power in the pack 🇿🇦😇#HeinekenChampionsCup | @SaintsRugby pic.twitter.com/OLnJUYdflD
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 26, 2022
In the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Saturday, Munster Rugby host Ulster Rugby in an all-Heineken Champions Cup, inter-provincial clash at Thomond Park.
Munster are much-changed from last Saturday’s 27-13 defeat at Leinster Rugby, with prop Alex Kendellen making his first appearance since their URC opener and full-back Mike Haley returning after an injury lay-off. 18-year-old Evan O’Connell could make his Munster debut from bench.
Fit-again centre James Hume features for Ulster for the first time this season, while replacement hooker John Andrew is poised for his 100th appearance for the Irish province. Newly signed prop Rory Sutherland is also among the substitutes.
Ospreys and DHL Stormers are the other Heineken Champions Cup outfits involved in Saturday’s URC fixtures, hosting Connacht Rugby and visiting Emirates Lions respectively.
Ospreys are unchanged from last Sunday’s 32-25 loss at Dragons RFC, with the likes of prop Gareth Thomas, lock Alun Wyn Jones, scrum-half Rhys Webb and wing George North starting.
DHL Stormers name a new-look side after going down 30-24 at Cardiff Rugby last time out, with prop Neethling Fouche, No.8 Evan Roos and wing Angelo Davids among those called up to start.
Saturday’s TOP 14 games provide a solitary all-Heineken Champions Cup affair as Castres Olympique entertain ASM Clermont Auvergne.
Stade Rochelais and Montpellier host Section Paloise and Stade Français Paris respectively, while Racing 92 visit CA Brive, Lyon are at USAP, and Stade Toulousain travel to Aviron Bayonnais.
Heineken Champions Cup newcomers Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks go head-to-head in the URC on Sunday, with Edinburgh Rugby away at Cardiff. Union Bordeaux-Bègles welcome RC Toulon in the TOP 14.