Brad Barritt starts for Saracens, Conor Murray hits 50

Date published: January 18 2019

There’s six Champions Cup matches scheduled for Saturday with Saracens v Glasgow Warriors and Munster against Exeter Chiefs the standout games.

Saracens vs Glasgow Warriors

Brad Barritt returns to captain Saracens against Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup this weekend.

It will be the 32-year-old’s first match of 2019 following a head injury sustained in December and he partners an in-form Nick Tompkins in the centre.

Winger Alex Lewington replaces Sean Maitland who left the field in Lyon with a tight hamstring, while Ben Spencer comes in at scrum-half.

There are no changes in the forwards but Calum Clark and David Strettle return to the bench.

A Sarries win would make it six from six in the pool stages and secure a home quarter-final.

For Glasgow, Adam Hastings starts at fly-half in their final Champions Cup pool game on Saturday.

The Warriors go into the match knowing they can leapfrog the reigning English champions at the top of Pool 3 with a five-point victory, despite having lost the reverse fixture 3-13 in October.

Hastings is the only change to the backline that started Sunday’s 33-24 victory over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.

Siua Halanukonuka starts in the front-row with Oli Kebble and Grant Stewart, both having scored tries at Scotstoun on Sunday with the hooker also named Heineken Man of the Match.

Tim Swinson is brought into the second-row with Rob Harley switching to the blindside flank. Chris Fusaro starts at seven, as captain Ryan Wilson moves to the back of the scrum.

On the bench Adam Ashe, Matt Smith, Huw Jones and Niko Matawalu are new inclusions in the matchday 23.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Liam Williams, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 David Strettle

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson (c), 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 2 Grant Stewart, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Adam Ashe, 20 Matt Smith, 21 George Horne, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Niko Matawalu

Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
Television match official: Éric Gauzins (France)

Cardiff Blues vs Lyon

Nick Williams will captain Cardiff Blues for the first time as John Mulvihill makes 11 changes for the visit of Lyon in the Champions Cup.

The Blues draw the curtain on their European campaign, aiming for a fourth consecutive victory over the French outfit, who sit fifth in the Top 14.

Following a late defeat to Glasgow Warriors in Round Five, Mulvihill has once again reshuffled his side and Williams has been handed the captaincy with an eye on the weeks ahead.

Williams is one of six changes in the pack, with Rory Thornton and Josh Navidi the only survivors from last week’s starting side.

Rhys Carré, Liam Belcher and Dmitri Arhip form a new-look front-row, while Macauley Cook and Josh Turnbull come into the second-row and back-row respectively.

In the backs, Tomos Williams pulls on the scrum-half jersey and partners Jarrod Evans, who makes his first start in six weeks. That sees Gareth Anscombe switch to full-back with Aled Summerhill coming onto the wing. The only other change sees Rey Lee-Lo replace Willis Halaholo.

Meanwhile, Lyon have freshened their team following a home defeat to Saracens as Charl McLeod and Jean-Marcellin Buttin come in as their half-back combination.

Adrien Seguret and Rudi Wulf also earns calls at centre while Xavier Mignot gets the nod on the wing, joining Alexis Palisson and Toby Arnold in the back three.

The pack is boosted by the inclusions of Liam Gill and Carl Fearns in the starting back-row as Lyon look to finish their European campaign on a high.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Harri Millard, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Aled Summerhil, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams (c), 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Liam Belcher, 1 Rhys Carré
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Matthew Morgan

Lyon: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Xavier Mignot, 13 Rudi Wulf, 12 Adrien Seguret, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Liam Gill (c), 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Etienne Oosthuizen, 4 Loann Goujon, 3 Kévin Yaméogo, 2 Jeremie Maurouard, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Hamza Kaabèche, 19 Francois van der Merwe, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Charlie Ngatai, 23 Quentin Delord

Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales (England), Andrew Jackson (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

Leicester vs Ulster

Ben Youngs will move into the top three appearance-makers in Leicester Tigers’ European Cup history after being named in the team to face Ulster at Welford Road on Saturday.

Scrum-half Youngs will make his 68th appearance in Europe’s elite club competition, moving level with Louis Deacon on the club’s list, behind only Martin Corry (69) and Geordan Murphy (74).

Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi, George Ford and Dan Cole, who have all been named in the England squad this week for the start of the Six Nations Championship, return to the starting line-up after missing the defeat to the Scarlets last weekend.

Jake Kerr, called up by Scotland for the first time this week, and Jonah Holmes, who will join up with the Wales squad for the Six Nations, are also included in the starting line-up.

Sam Aspland-Robinson is included among the replacements and is set to make his first senior appearance at Welford Road since his summer move from Harlequins after making his debut against the Scarlets in Round 5.

Meanwhile, Iain Henderson has recovered from injury to take his place in the Ulster team that will face Leicester Tigers at Welford Road, in what will be his 100th appearance for the province.

Henderson is the sole change to the starting XV that recorded a memorable win over Racing 92 at Kingspan Stadium last weekend, to leave Ulster’s quarter-final qualification destiny in their own hands.

Having been named in the Ireland Six Nations squad earlier this week, Henderson’s return is a welcome boost to Dan McFarland’s squad, and he slots straight into the second-row alongside Kieran Treadwell.

Henderson’s international team-mate Rory Best will captain the side from hooker, where he is joined by academy prop Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore in the front-row. Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee are once again named as the loose forwards.

Behind the pack, David Shanahan, who was a late call-up to the starting team last week, retains his place at scrum-half, with Billy Burns at fly-half. Stuart McCloskey and Will Addison are also retained in the midfield.

Jacob Stockdale and Academy prospect Robert Baloucoune, who jointly contributed Ulster’s three tries last week, continue on the wings, with Louis Ludik completing the back three.

On the bench, Rob Herring, Andy Warwick and Ross Kane will cover the front-row, with Alan O’Connor and Nick Timoney named as the additional forward options. John Cooney, Michael Lowry and Darren Cave are selected as the backline reinforcements.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Jonah Holmes, 14 Jonny May, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalafamoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jake Kerr, 1 Greg Bateman
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Will Evans, 21 Ben White, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Sam Aspland-Robinson

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Will Addison, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Dave Shanahan, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Sean Reidy, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Eric O’Sullivan
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Andy Warwick, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Alan O’Connor, 20 Nick Timoney, 21 John Cooney, 22 Michael Lowry, 23 Darren Cave

Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Luc Ramos (France)
Television match official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

Racing 92 vs Scarlets

Racing 92 will be determined to bounce back from last week’s loss at Ulster when they play host to Scarlets at Paris La Defense Arena.

Coming into this game just three points ahead of Ulster at the summit, they have kept the faith with the same backline this Saturday.

Census Johnston starts at tighthead in place of Ben Tameifuna while Boris Palu gets the nod at lock instead of Bernard Le Roux, who moves to the flank alongside Wenceslas Lauret and number eight Antoine Claaseen.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Davies will wear the armband this weekend after returning from a rest to lead the Scarlets on Saturday.

Former British & Irish Lions player of the series Davies will make his 50th European appearance for the region in their first contest at their opponent’s new multi-purpose stadium in the French capital.

Scarlets’ matchday 23 includes eight players named in Wales’ Six Nations squad, with seven named in the starting line-up. Joining Davies in tweaks to the team that ran out convincing winners last Saturday against Leicester Tigers, Tom Prydie comes in at 14, while Josh MacLeod returns from his foot injury to give emergency number eight Ken Owens a well-earned rest.

The teams:

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Simon Zebo, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Boris Palu, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 1 Guram Gogichashvili
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Georges Henri Colombe, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Fabien Sanconnie, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Olivier Klemenczak, 23 Ben Volavola

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Joshua Macleod, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Ed Kennedy, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Joshua Helps, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Tom Price, 20 Dafydd Hughes, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Paul Asquith

Venue: Paris La Defense Arena
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffkin (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Munster vs Exeter

Head coach Johann van Graan has made just one change to his Munster side that defeated Gloucester last weekend for Saturday’s crucial Champions Cup clash against Exeter Chiefs at Thomond Park.

Tighthead prop John Ryan replaces Stephen Archer with captain Peter O’Mahony named in the starting XV.

Conor Murray makes his 50th Champions Cup appearance just over seven years on from making his competition debut against Northampton Saints in the famous 23-21 victory at Thomond Park in November 2011.

Elsewhere, Mike Haley starts at full-back with Andrew Conway and Keith Earls on the wings.

Rory Scannell and Chris Farrell form the centre partnership with Murray and Joey Carbery in the half-backs.

Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and Ryan pack down in the front-row with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne in the engine room. O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander make up the Munster back-row.

Meanwhile, Exeter have made just one change to their XV, with England prop Harry Williams starting at tighthead.

Tomas Francis was forced to withdraw through illness, while Aussie international Greg Holmes is added to the bench, but they are otherwise unchanged.

Jack Nowell remains at full-back after his impressive performance against Castres last weekend and he is joined in the back three by Santiago Cordero and Tom O’Flaherty.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Dan Goggin

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Don Armand, 6 Sam Skinner, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Sean Lonsdale, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Ian Whitten

Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Jonathan Dufort (France)
Television match official: Éric Briquet Campin (France)

Castres vs Gloucester

Castres have brought in Rory Kockott at scrum-half for their game against Gloucester in the final round of the Champions Cup.

He joins Yohan Le Bourhis at half-back, while Martin Laveau replaces David Smith on the right wing in a completely altered backline.

There are also plenty of changes in the pack with Maama Vaipulu, Camille Gerondeau and Thibault Lassalle the only players to remain.

Meanwhile, Gloucester round off their 2018/19 Champions Cup campaign with Lewis Ludlow captaining a young side.

The Cherry and Whites make wholesale changes from the team that started against Munster last weekend, with only Henry Walker, Gerbrandt Grobler, Lewis Ludlow, Ollie Thorley and Tom Hudson retained in the starting line-up.

The teams:

Castres: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Martin Laveau, 13 Florian Vialelle, 12 Julien Caminati, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Yohan Le Bourhis, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Camille Gerondeau, 6 Yannick Caballero (c), 5 Thibault Lassalle, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Tapu Falatea
Replacements: 16 Kevin Firmin, 17 Antoine Tichit, 18 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Kevin Gimeno, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Robert Ebersohn, 23 Yohan Domenech

Gloucester: 15 Tom Hudson, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Freddie Clarke, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Ciaran Knight, 2 Henry Walker, 1 Alex Seville
Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Alex Craig, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Tom Seabrook, 23 Charlie Sharples

Venue: Stade Pierre Fabre
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Ian Davies (Wales)