Saturday’s Champions Cup Team News
Two all-English quarter-finals take place in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs (15:15 kick-off)
An all-English tie to savour kicks off this weekend’s Champions Cup quarter-finals when Wasps host Exeter Chiefs.
James Haskell will captain Wasps as he returns to join George Smith and Nathan Hughes in Wasps’ back row, while Charles Piutau and Dan Robson have both recovered from injury to take their place in an otherwise unchanged backline.
There is also a welcome return for scrum-half Joe Simpson, who is named on the bench and is set to make his first appearance for Wasps since sustaining an ankle injury during Wasps’ final European pool round match, against Leinster on January 23.
In the pack, Carlo Festuccia comes in at hooker and Kearnan Myall lines up alongside Joe Launchbury, to form Wasps’ second row partnership.
Meanwhile although victorious last time out against the Worcester Warriors, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has tinkered slightly with his winning formula making three changes in personnel.
Up front, England and Lions forward Geoff Parling and fellow lock Mitch Lees pack down in the Exeter engine room.
Phil Dollman’s absence means there is a first-ever European start for Australian international Lachie Turner.
Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Rob Miller
Exeter: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Moray Low, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Michele Campagnaro, 23 James Short
Saracens v Northampton Saints (17:45 kick-off)
Playing in their fifth successive European quarter-final, Saracens welcome back Chris Wyles into the starting XV to face Northampton.
Wyles comes into the side on the left wing, joining Chris Ashton (right wing) and Alex Goode in the Saracens back three.
At centre, Brad Barritt will lead out Saracens as captain in the club’s first ever European knock-out game at Allianz Park, and will be partnered by Duncan Taylor in midfield.
Owen Farrell will look to add to his 73 Champions Cup points this season from fly-half and will be joined by Richard Wigglesworth who starts at scrum-half.
Meanwhile, Ben Foden captains Northampton for the all-Aviva Premiership tie, while there are a quintet of changes to the starting XV that faced Wasps last Sunday.
In the backline, Luther Burrell and Jamie Elliott start, while Paul Hill comes onto the tighthead as one of three changes in the pack.
James Craig’s introduction to the second row sees Courtney Lawes move to the blindside flank, while Ben Nutley wears seven having skippered the Wanderers to the ‘A’ League semi-finals with two tries this past Monday evening.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Ben Ransom
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden (c), 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Harry Mallinder