European Rugby: A look at how the Premiership sides fair going into the weekend

European Rugby: A look at how the Premiership sides fair going into the weekend

A weekend of tantalizing European action is in store as all ten Gallagher Premiership Rugby sides continue their Investec Champions Cup and Challenge Cup campaigns.

A drama-filled opening round set the tone for what looks to be a spectacular season in continental competitions, with another set of scintillating match-ups in store this weekend.

As the road to EPCR Finals Weekend continues, let's take a look at the Round 2 line-up.

Bristol bouncing after Lyon triumph

After a fairytale finish on opening weekend, Bristol Bears will hope to continue their winning start to the Champions Cup season as they visit pool leaders Bordeaux Bègles.

Bristol go into the contest off a war with Lyon in their European curtain raiser, which saw Callum Sheedy steal the headlines by kicking an 85th-minute drop goal to edge out Le Loups 36-34 at Ashton Gate.

Their spirits will be tested against Bordeaux, however, who sit top of Pool 1 after downing Connacht 41-5 in their opening game.

Also in Pool 1, Saracens will seek to kickstart their European campaign after suffering early disappointment, losing 27-16 away at the Bulls.

Billy Vunipola was sent off in the contest for a reckless challenge – something which put the game out of sight for Saracens, with the score at 27-6.

However, in a timely boost, Vunipola’s red card has been overturned, putting him in contention to face Connacht in the first meeting between these two for nine years.

Prem sides flying in Pool 3

Exeter Chiefs play host to Irish giants Munster as they look to make it two wins from two in Pool 3.

In a similar fashion to West Country counterparts, Exeter Chiefs left it late in their opener against Toulon, with a last gasp Henry Slade kick pipping the Red and Blacks to one-point win.

They face the challenge of two-time Champions Cup winners Munster, who played out a 17-17 draw with Bayonne.

Also seeking to continue their winning start is Northampton Saints, who host Toulon.

Saints currently sit top of the pool after a Tommy Freeman double sealed a 28-19 victory away at Glasgow Warriors.

They’ll be hoping to follow in Exeter’s suit by getting one over the Top 14 side – though ideally in a more comfortable manner than Chiefs managed.

Dream starts for Quins and Bath

After a hard-fought victory on opening weekend, Harlequins will hope to continue in fine stead as they take on Toulouse in Pool 2.

A six-minute masterclass saw Harlequins flip the contest with Racing 92 on its head, scoring 14 points between the 61st and 67th minute to go 31-28 up – a lead they held for the remainder of the game.

Another tough test lies ahead in French outfit Toulouse, who got the ball rolling by dismantling Cardiff Rugby in a 52-7 thrashing at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

And it doesn’t get much easier for Cardiff, who play host to Bath this weekend.

Bath Rugby will similarly want to stick to winning ways, after a Joe Cokanasiga brace propelled Johann van Graan's side to a 37-14 win over Ulster.

Leicester and Sale leading the way in Pool 4

Leicester Tigers make the trip across the channel as they pay visit to Stade Francais in Pool 4.

After an entertaining contest with the Stormers saw Leicester come out 35-26 victors, the Tigers will be eager to stick to winning ways against the Parisiens.

They’ll hope to re-enact the exploits of Sale Sharks, who cruised past the Top 14 outfit 28-5 on opening weekend.

To the Sharks, who face the test of a hungry Leinster side this weekend.

The four-time Champions Cup winners made their intentions of a fifth clear in Round 1, beating current holders La Rochelle 16-9 in a rematch of the 2023 final.

Having been edged out of the Champions Cup by a solitary point in last season’s finale – losing 27-26 in Dublin – Leinster will no doubt have a chip on their shoulder, seeking to avenge heartbreak and go all the way this time around.

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