Preview: Gallagher Premiership teams take on the Europeans in round three of the Challenge Cup
The Gallagher Premiership will take a break this weekend but the 12 teams won’t as they prepare for European action.
Round three of the European Champions Cup takes over and an interesting prospect for the Premiership sides lies ahead.
Domestic form doesn’t always translate into European games and some of the teams face different prospects this weekend – here’s what to expect:
Falcons fly north
Newcastle Falcons are a perfect example of how distinct European and domestic form can be, but they have clinched successive league victories in recent weeks.
They head to Edinburgh on Friday and although they sit at the foot of the Gallagher Premiership table, they will arrive in Scotland top of pool five.
Edinburgh come into the game off the back of successive defeats in the PRO14 and two points behind the Falcons in the pool.
Chiefs need a win
Exeter Chiefs suffered their first Premiership loss of the season last weekend and they need to bounce back with a win against Gloucester on Saturday.
Bottom of pool 2, the Chiefs haven’t won a Champions Cup game this season drawing with Munster and losing to Castres so far.
Gloucester will be hoping to inflict much of the same on Rob Baxter’s men and might look back to their incredible 2015 semi-final win for inspiration.
Valuable points on offer 💎 for the victors
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) 5 December 2018
Bath host red-hot Leinster
Bath will hope they can leapfrog Leinster in pool 1 when they welcome the Irishmen to the Rec on Saturday.
Todd Blackadder’s side are vying for their first Champions Cup victory of the season but two-time defending champions Leinster will prove a stern test for any side.
The current holders are leading their PRO14 conference by 15 points and showed no signs of slowing down last weekend when they scored 50 points for the second successive game, downing Dragons.
Wasps welcome Stade Toulouse
The other pool 1 fixture will see Wasps take on Stade Toulouse on Saturday evening.
Wasps are also on the hunt for their first Champions Cup win this year but face a Toulouse side that have won both of their opening matches.
The French outfit currently sit second in the Top 14 while Wasps survived a last-minute scare against Bristol Bears in their last home game – which may bring them added confidence.
Saracens top dogs
Saracens moved to the top of the Gallagher Premiership last weekend and will enter this weekend on top of pool 3 too.
On Sunday they face Cardiff Blues at Allianz Park in a fixture that doesn’t favour the Welshmen having lost their last two away games.
The two-time champions will be hoping their current form can help them improve on their quarter-final exit last year and will be confident against Blues.
🗣@J_George2 talks about:
– Internationals feeling the pressure due to Sarries good form
– @NickIsiekwe‘s determination for his try after eight weeks out
– What he thinks of Cardiff Blues
Have a read! ⚫️🔴
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) 6 December 2018
Tigers take on last year’s finalists
Leicester Tigers will travel to Nanterre on Sunday to face Racing 92 who were narrowly defeated by Leinster in last year’s final.
Racing have made a promising start this time around as well winning both of their opening games and scoring the second most tries in the competition.
Tigers handed Scarlets a heavy defeat in their last Champions Cup game however and will be hoping to use the momentum from that to overcome the challenger from the French.