Champions Cup: head to heads to watch this weekend

Champions Cup: head to heads to watch this weekend

The Champions Cup is back and it's even better with only eight sides left in the competition as we head into the knockout stages.

With four mouth-watering clashes heading your way this weekend, we picked out our top head to heads to keep an eye on. 

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Edinburgh v Munster

There are a number of exciting head to heads to look forward to in this game with Jaco van der Walt and Joey Carbery both in fine form while both sides have some sensational outside backs. 

Both sides also have to powerful tight fives, however, the back row is our pick of the battles to keep an eye on. 

John Barclay was nothing short of outstanding on his long-awaited debut and will face off against arguably the best blindside flanker in the game in Peter O'Mahony.

On the other side of the scrum, Hamish Watson has been sublime since making his return from injury while Jack O'Donoghue was excellent for Munster last week. 

Finally, the biggest clash is in the no.8 jerseys with Edinburgh's Fijian powerhouse Villiame Mata facing off against Munster's workhorse CJ Stander. 

Both players are incredible ball carriers that will jump at the opportunity to try and punch holes into the opposition's defence. 

Mata lit up the group stages with some sublime skills while Stander has the highest tackle count for the remaining players in the competition.

Saracens v Glasgow Warriors

Like the Munster game, this clash has its fair share of mouth-watering head to heads especially considering the fact that both sides have been boosted by the returns of their Six Nations stars including the likes of Maro Itoje and Stuart Hogg.

Our pick of the head to heads is the battle in the 10 jerseys. Owen Farrell has copped his fair share of criticism following the test against Scotland and will be looking to prove a point against Glasgow.

Farrell fronts up against Hastings with both playmakers armoured with some real firepower outside of them. Brad Barritt and Sam Johnson will both look to give their general some front foot ball while the likes of Rory Hughes, Kyle Steyn, Sean Maitland and Liam Williams certainly know their way to the try line. 

Leinster v Ulster

Arguably the pick of the fixtures on Saturday with the Irish derby adding that little bit extra to a quarter-final clash. 

Both sets of players will be looking to make a statement to Joe Schmidt that they can step up in the big games with a number of Irishman going head to head in their positions. Sean Cronin and Rory Best, Iain Henderson and James Ryan, Ross Byrne and Billy Burns to name a few. 

However, the most intriguing battle will be that of the halfbacks. Both Luke McGrath and John Cooney are well within the fight for a place on the plane to Japan as one of Schmidt's three scrumhalves.

Conor Murray is certain to make the trip while Connacht's Kieran Marmion is likely to fill another spot. That leaves the likes of McGrath, Cooney and Blade fighting it out for a spot. 

A measure and controlled game from either halfback could do wonders for their hopes of featuring in the showpiece. 

Racing 92 v Toulouse

The final clash of the weekend could be viewed as the biggest with two form Top 14 sides facing off. 

The likes of Ben Tameifuna, Donnacha Ryan, Leone Nakawara, Bernard Le Roux, Charlie Faumuina, Richie Gray, Ryhardt Elstadt and Jerome Kaino will make sure that it is a mammoth clash up front. 

In the backs, Maxime Machenaud and Finn Russell will battle with Antoine Dupont and Zach Holmes to gain the tactical advantage. 

The battle in the backs gets even better the higher numbers on the backs gets. The midfields sees Henry Chavancy and Virimi Vakatawa face Romain Ntamack and Sofiano Guitoune.

Finally, our pick of the battles will be that of the outside backs. Juan Imhoff and Maxime Medard have both been in fine form for their respective clubs with Imhoff stating that he has a point to prove to Los Pumas coach Mario Ledesma with the Argentine head coach believing that his services aren't needed in Japan.

Teddy Thomas will look to pinch the French 14 jersey off of Yoann Huget with the Toulouse man displaying a mixed bag of performances. Huget can pull something brilliant out of his hat while he is still capable of a massive blunder. 

The most exciting clash sees Simon Zebo face Cheslin Kolbe in the 15 jerseys. No player has beaten more defenders than any other player in the competition while Jacob Stockdale is the only player left in the competition that has gained more metres.

Zebo has been on fire for Racing.

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