Six EPCR Player of the Year nominees go head-to-head in the Six Nations on Saturday as Ireland host France in a crucial encounter in Dublin.
Three players from the recently announced longlist line up on either side at the Aviva Stadium, where they will hope to be featuring again in May in the Heineken Champions Cup final.
Leinster Rugby No.8 Caelan Doris, flanker Josh van der Flier and centre Garry Ringrose continue in the Ireland XV and will face off against Stade Rochelais No.8 Grégory Alldritt and Stade Toulousain hooker Julien Marchand and scrum-half Antoine Dupont.
In further evidence of the Heineken Champions Cup talent on show, Van der Flier and Dupont are both former EPCR Player of the Year winners, claiming the accolade in 2022 and 2021 respectively.
We had a similar preview to @IrishRugby & @FranceRugby's #SixNations clash at the Aviva in last year's #HeinekenChampionsCup semi… 👀
Relive it with our mini-doc ➡️ https://t.co/gXM9ZSTve4#ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/W4LUwo5ATC
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) February 9, 2023
The six nominees have been crucial to their respective clubs’ qualification for the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 and this weekend’s international clash will provide a teaser for the elite-level contests the knockout stage will serve up.
Leinster, of course, met Alldritt’s La Rochelle in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup final and the two sides look immensely strong again this campaign, topping Pool A and Pool B respectively.
Toulouse are another leading contender, and Dupont and Marchand will be hoping to exact some revenge on Leinster following their semi-final defeat in Dublin last season.
Ulster Rugby hooker Rob Herring replaces Leinster’s Dan Sheehan as the solitary alteration for Ireland from their crushing win over Wales in the opening round.
Leinster prop Andrew Porter and lock James Ryan both retain there places as they make their 50th appearances for Ireland, with Munster Rugby prop Dave Kilcoyne poised to hit the same milestone from the bench. France, meanwhile, are unchanged from their win in Italy last weekend.