It is not only Aviva Premiership Rugby’s playing stars that will be under the spotlight this weekend in the European Champions and Challenge Cups, as the league’s top referees also take to the turf.
JP Doyle will be the man in the middle at Thomond Park as two former European champion collide, with Munster welcoming Toulouse in the Champions Cup.
The 37-year-old, who officiates in Aviva Premiership Rugby on a weekly basis, will need to have his wits about him with Munster and Toulouse sharing the record number of appearances in the knockout stage of the tournament at 16 apiece. Doyle leads a team of English assistants in Greg Garner and Craig Maxwell-Keys.
Click here for the referee appointments for the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals
Wayne Barnes is also in action and will take the whistle for ASM Clermont Auvergne’s clash with RC Toulon at the Stade Marcel-Michelin, with English assistants Tom Foley and Paul Dix alongside him.
Clermont were the most disciplined side in the pool stage, conceding a competition low of 7.8 penalties per game, but Toulon were successful when the teams met in the 2013 and 2015 finals.
In the Challenge Cup, Aviva Premiership Rugby referee Luke Pearce is at BT Murrayfield – together with assistants Ian Tempest and Simon McConnell – to cast his eye over Top14 leaders La Rochelle’s trip to Edinburgh.
The two clubs have never met before in European competition, and this is the French side’s first trip to Scotland, where Edinburgh are remarkably unbeaten in the competition since 1997.
And another Englishman in Matthew Carley will make the journey into Wales to referee Ospreys’ quarter-final against Stade Francais Paris.
This is Ospreys’ first Challenge Cup campaign and they are the first club in history to complete the pool stage with a maximum 30 points, but Stade have won three of their last four Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
— Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 27, 2017
In terms of the English sides still playing in the competition, Wales’ Nigel Owens will take charge of Leinster v Wasps and Jerome Garces of France is at Saracens v Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup.
And Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby will see their Challenge Cup games on Saturday against Brive and Cardiff Blues officiated by Italy’s Marius Mitrea and Pascal Gauzère of France respectively.
Leinster v Wasps
Kick-off: 3.15pm, Aviva Stadium, Saturday 1 April
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal)
Assistant Ref: Romain Poite (Fra)
Assistant Ref: Ian Davies (Wal)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wal)
Citing Commissioner: Yves Thieffine (Fra)
TV: BT Sport / beIN Sports / Sky Italia
Munster Rugby v Toulouse
Kick-off: 5.45pm, Thomond Park, Saturday 1 April
Referee: JP Doyle (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Greg Garner (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Craig Maxwell-Keys (Eng)
TMO: David Grashoff (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: John Byett (Eng)
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors
Kick-off: 1.00pm, Allianz Park, Sunday 2 April
Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra)
Assistant Ref: Mathieu Raynal (Fra)
Assistant Ref: Thomas Charabas (Fra)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: Eddie Walsh (Ire)
TV: Sky Sports / beIN Sports / Sky Italia
ASM Clermont Auvergne v RC Toulon
Kick-off: 4.15pm, Stade Marcel-Michelin, Sunday 2 April
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Tom Foley (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Paul Dix (Eng)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson (Ire)
Edinburgh Rugby v La Rochelle
Kick-off: 8.00pm, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Friday 31 March
Referee: Luke Pearce (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Ian Tempest (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Simon McConnell (Eng)
TMO: Graham Hughes (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: Andy Blyth (Eng)
Bath Rugby v Brive
Kick-off: 12.45pm, Recreation Ground, Saturday 1 April
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Ita)
Assistant Ref: Matteo Liperini (Ita)
Assistant Ref: Simone Boaretto (Ita)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Ita)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Sco)
Gloucester Rugby v Cardiff Blues
Kick-off: 8.05pm, Kingsholm Stadium, Saturday 1 April
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (Fra)
Assistant Ref: Alexandre Ruiz (Fra)
Assistant Ref: Pierre Brousset (Fra)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: Patrice Frantschi (Fra)
Ospreys v Stade Français Paris
Kick-off: 5.45pm, Principality Stadium (Cardiff), Sunday 2 April
Referee: Matthew Carley (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Tim Wigglesworth (Eng)
Assistant Ref: Peter Allan (Eng)
TMO: Sean Davey (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: Alberto Recaldini (Ita)