Saracens and Northampton Saints will square off in an all-Aviva Premiership Rugby showdown in Europe this weekend and Frenchman Mathieu Raynal will referee that clash at Allianz Park.
To qualify for the Champions Cup knockout stages, Mark McCall’s troops need a bonus-point victory over a team they have already beaten twice this season, and then other results to go their way, and Raynal will have countrymen Alexandre Ruiz and Thomas Charabas as his two assistants, with Philippe Bonhoure as TMO.
Another experienced French referee, Romain Poite, will take charge of Exeter Chiefs’ Saturday trip to Glasgow Warriors, with the Chiefs looking the best-placed of the Aviva Premiership Rugby sides to reach the Champions Cup quarter-finals.
They need a bonus-point win at Scotstoun and Poite – who will referee his 68th match in top-level European competition, the fifth-most all-time – will be assisted by countrymen Cyril Lafon and Vincent Blasco Baqué, with Ireland’s Simon McDowell as TMO.
— Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 17, 2018
European rugby’s most-experienced official, Nigel Owens, will take the whistle for the 105th time in the top tier of continental competition when he runs out at Welford Road for Leicester Tigers versus Racing 92 on Sunday.
Bath Rugby can also still reach the Champions Cup knockout stages and Pascal Gauzère takes charge of their trip to Benetton Rugby, while Jérome Garcès is the man in the middle for Wasps’ hosting of Ulster.
A quartet of Irishmen will officiate Harlequins’ trip to La Rochelle on Sunday – George Clancy refereeing his 69th match in top-level European competition, with Frank Murphy and Leo Colgan as his assistants, while Brian MacNiece is the TMO.
John Lacey will take charge of his 22nd Challenge Cup match when the European action kicks off at Kingsholm on Friday night between Gloucester Rugby and Pau.
Meanwhile, David Wilkinson and Pierre Brousset face the long trip to Georgia for Saturday’s double-header at the Avchala Stadium with Wilkinson refereeing Enisei-STM v Newcastle Falcons first up before Brousset takes the whistle for Krasny Yar against London Irish.
Friday 19th January
Gloucester Rugby v Pau
Kingsholm Stadium, 7.45pm
Referee: John Lacey (Ire)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ire), Paul Haycock (Ire)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ire)
Saturday 20th January
Enisei-STM v Newcastle Falcons
Avchala Stadium, 10am (UK time)
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ire)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ire), Chris Harrington (Ire)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ire)
Krasny Yar v London Irish
Avchala Stadium, 1pm (UK time)
Referee: Pierre Brousset (Fra)
Assistant referees: Julien Castaignede (Fra), Eric Soulan (Fra)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ire)
Glasgow Warriors v Exeter Chiefs
Scotstoun Stadium, 1pm
Referee: Romain Poite (Fra)
Assistant referees: Cyril Lafon (Fra), Vincent Blasco Baqué (Fra)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ire)
Brive v Worcester Warriors
Stade Amedee-Domenech, 2.30pm (UK time)
Referee: Dan Jones (Wal)
Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas (Wal), Gareth John (Wal)
Saracens v Northampton Saints
Allianz Park, 3.15pm
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (Fra)
Assistant referees: Alexandre Ruiz (Fra), Thomas Charabas (Fra)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)
Toulouse v Sale Sharks
Stade Ernest Wallon, 5pm (UK time)
Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ire)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton (Ire), Jonathan Peak (Ire)
Benetton Rugby v Bath Rugby
Stadio Comunale di Monigo, 5.30pm (UK time)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (Fra)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (Fra), Jean-Luc Rebollal (Fra)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (Fra)
Sunday 21st January
Leicester Tigers v Racing 92
Welford Road, 1pm
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wal), Gwyn Morris (Wal)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wal)
Wasps v Ulster Rugby
Ricoh Arena, 3.15pm
Referee: Jérome Garcès (Fra)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (Fra), Jonathan Dufort (Fra)
TMO: Eric Briquet-Campin (Fra)
La Rochelle v Harlequins
Stade Marcel Deflandre, 3.15pm (UK time)
Referee: George Clancy (Ire)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ire), Leo Colgan (Ire)
TMO: Brian MacNiece (Ire)