Rugby Union Today: European stories and Saints prop issues

Another busy day in the rugby union game as James While looks ahead to this weekend’s Champions Cup encounters and picks out the key battlegrounds.

Rugby Union Today: European stories and Saints prop issues

Rugby Union Today: European stories and Saints prop issues

What’s on the site

There are some thrilling games in the Champions Cup this weekend and James While runs the rule over the four ties. Leinster’s match with Saracens is the most eagerly-anticipated encounter but all the clashes contain a number of intriguing subplots.

The final contest sees Exeter Chiefs take on Northampton Saints, but the Midlanders were initially concerned that they would go into it with just one fit loosehead. After much pressure, the EPCR eventually relented and allowed Northampton to sign Alex Seville from Gloucester.

Rob Baxter, the Chiefs’ director of rugby, was not happy, however, and accused the Saints of mind games, pointing to a situation Exeter had not so long ago when the inexperienced Alfie Petch played.

Elsewhere, we have previewed Friday’s Challenge Cup tie between Bristol Bears and the Dragons. Both have named strong squads, with Semi Radradra’s head-to-head against Nick Tompkins worth looking out for.

What’s in the news

It is the Super Rugby AU final this weekend and both teams named their 23-man squads for the contest. Noah Lolesio starts for the Brumbies after a spell on the sidelines, while the Reds have made two changes for the showpiece event.

Meanwhile, Dan Biggar is still striving to improve his game so that he can continue to be a regular for Wales at Test level. Biggar has earned 83 caps for the national team and will look to maintain his spot in the XV when the Six Nations concludes in October.

What’s on social media

Interesting developments from France today:

First Tom Taylor, now Leone Nakarawa demanding 1 million euros from Pau and Racing 92 respectively

Taylor was sacked after leaving the country during the Covid crisis, Nakarawa for his late return from the World Cup

— Paul Eddison (@pauleddison) September 17, 2020

What’s on TV

After an eight-month break, the biggest competition in Europe returns. BT Sport will show all four ties in the Champions Cup with Leinster’s clash against Saracens the highlight of the weekend.

Elsewhere, Super Rugby AU concludes on Saturday as the Brumbies take on the Reds in Canberra. That game will be shown on Sky Sports, a channel which also has all the Mitre 10 Cup action.

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