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European Rugby – a guide to round two

European Rugby – a guide to round two

After a thrilling opening weekend in Europe, Gloucester Rugby have already secured a win over Agen to open up Round Two in the perfect way.

The Cherry & Whites ran in nine tries in their 61-16 victory at Kingsholm as they bounced back in emphatic style after their opening round defeat to Pau.

The 11 remaining Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs will be in action throughout the weekend and here’s everything you need to know.

FRIDAY

Bath Rugby earned a 23-0 win over Benetton Rugby last weekend and travel to the reigning Guinness PRO14 champions Scarlets later this evening.

The Scarlets are flying high once again domestically with five wins from their opening six games and they were inches away from beating French giants Toulon last week.

Todd Blackadder has brought Welshmen Luke Charteris and Rhys Priestland back into his starting XV for the trip to Parc y Scarlets with the fly-half set to face his former side.

Nathan Catt will make his 150th appearance for Bath if he makes an appearance off the bench under the Friday night lights.

Sale Sharks face a similarly tricky Round Two test with a trip to France’s Top 14 leaders Lyon having drawn 20-20 with Toulouse last weekend.

SATURDAY

Reigning champions Saracens, fresh from beating Northampton Saints last weekend, welcome Ospreys to Allianz Park on Saturday.

It’s an opponent winger Liam Williams, who scored two tries against the Saints, will know well.

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints’ task in Pool 2 doesn’t get any easier as they face last year’s losing finalists Clermont Auvergne in France.

Regardless of the result, it’s set to be a special afternoon for Courtney Lawes who makes his 200th appearance in a Saints shirt, a feat which has taken the second row a decade to accomplish.

There are further milestones for the Saints as Harry Mallinder reaches the half-century of club appearances while Ben Foden will turn out for the 50th time in the Champions Cup.

Leicester Tigers face French opponents for the second week in a row as they welcome Castres to Welford Road having earned a losing bonus point last Saturday against Racing 92.

In-form Newcastle Falcons travel to Bordeaux Begles in the Challenge Cup while London Irish are also in France taking on Stade Francais.

Worcester Warriors, fresh off their first win of the season last time out, travel to Connacht to take on the 2015/16 Guinness PRO14 winners.

SUNDAY

Sunday sees the only all Aviva Premiership Rugby match of the weekend as rivals Wasps and Harlequins go head-to-head once again at the Ricoh Arena.

Harlequins ended Wasps’ long unbeaten record in Coventry in Round Three of the league season but have lost three of their four games since, including a defeat to La Rochelle last week.

Injury-hit Wasps were also beaten in their opening Champions Cup match making their meeting against Harlequins all the more mouth-watering.

Finally, Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Exeter Chiefs look to follow up their impressive victory over Glasgow Warriors last weekend with success in France.

A second win on the bounce will be no easy task for the Chiefs though as they’re up against Montpellier, beaten by Leinster last week but still many people’s tip for a good run in the cup.

Exeter have largely stuck with the same formula to take on the star-studded French side, but Tomas Francis gets the nod over Harry Williams in the tighthead berth.

Meanwhile Thomas Waldrom – who made his first appearance of the season coming off the bench last weekend following a broken foot – edges out Sam Simmonds at No.8.

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