Champions Cup: Northampton-Leinster headline Saturday's action
Keep up to date with Northampton vs Leinster and Munster vs Saracens on Saturday via our live blog
Last Updated: 07/12/19 9:04am
The key talking points of Saturday's Champions Cup fixtures, including a repeat of one of the tournament's most memorable finals...
Northampton vs Leinster headlines 'moving day'
There's a repeat of the 2011 final in Pool 1 on Saturday - one of the best finals the tournament has ever produced.
Saints were 22-6 up at half-time in Cardiff that day before the Irish province fought back in the second half for a 32-22 victory.
Saints were not at their best for the years that followed that final, but following a revival led by coach Chris Boyd, they come into this game top of the Gallagher Premiership standings and with just one loss to their name across all competitions this season.
Leinster, however, have largely stayed at that high level, and have gone one better than Northampton and navigated this season unbeaten so far.
It all means the game at Franklin's Gardens is set to be a memorable one - can Saints officially announce their return to Europe's elite with a victory over last season's beaten finalists?
Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 1 Alex Waller (c), 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Ehren Painter, 4 Alex Moon, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Jamie Gibson, 8 Teimana Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Michael Van Vuuren, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Connor Tupai, 22 James Grayson, 23 Piers Francis.
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 1 Cian Healy, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 3 Andrew Porter, 4 Devin Toner, 5 James Ryan, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Caelan Doris.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Scott Fardy, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Kearney,
La Rochelle v Glasgow
La Rochelle are having an up-and-down season in the Top 14 having won half of their ten fixtures to date, but there is very little for them to get excited about in Europe.
Comfortably beaten in the opening round by Exeter Chiefs, there was more Premiership heartbreak in round two as the Sale Sharks were worthy winners at the AJ Bell.
La Rochelle have some of the most exciting backs in the competition, but a lack of consistency has cost them results domestically and abroad.
The Warriors are in a similar situation; their three wins out of seven in the Guinness PRO14 sees them fourth in Conference A and six points adrift of the Cheetahs in third.
Both of these sides will be looking for a win that won't necessarily further their progression in Europe, but could offer something to ignite their season.
Wing plans at Kingspan
Ulster have opted for Jacob Stockdale at full-back and Louis Ludik on the wing, despite the latter's superior experience in the No 15 jersey for the province.
There have been suggestions that Stockdale could be an option at full-back for Ireland in the future; his height offering him an advantage on the high ball while the added space in which to move would increase his attacking threat.
Injuries have forced Ulster into several backline changes this season so far, but the decision to opt for Stockdale at the back instead of on the wing is an interesting one. It may indicate a change in tactics, but given the Quins' half-back pairing of Danny Care and Marcus Smith, it's likely to be a running game that unfolds at Kingspan rather than one dominated by kicking.
It will be interesting to see if Stockdale and Ludik interchange through the game, or if this is the potential start of a long-term move to full-back for Stockdale.
Ospreylia no more
Long gone are the days of being revered as a team of international standard; the Ospreys are in all sorts of trouble at the moment after winning just one game in all competitions so far this season.
The result of all of that was the appointment of Mike Ruddock as a coaching consultant, with Allen Clarke's departure from the club expected to be confirmed imminently.
There are many problems facing the Welsh region and very little time to fix them if they don't want to completely write off this season before Christmas.
This weekend they face a team flying high in Europe but languishing in the Top 14 with just three wins from 10 games. Despite their French form, Racing 92 are top of what would have been considered the most difficult pool of the competition with Munster and Saracens alongside them. Can the French team pick up big points from the next two rounds and put some daylight between them and the chasing pack?
On the flip side, Ospreys have already lost heavily to Saracens and Munster, and a similar loss to Racing would compound pressure on Ruddock to bring victories back to the Liberty Stadium.
Saracens' watershed fixture?
The big questions remain about Saracens' interest in the Champions Cup. Racing's draw against Munster at Thomond Park last time out has thrown Mark McCall's men back into the mix despite their comprehensive first-round loss in Paris.
Due to the workload of his World Cup stars, McCall has largely picked teams of relative inexperience in Europe so far, with polarising success: that loss to Racing 92 was followed by a 44-3 drubbing of the Ospreys.
This game could be their watershed fixture of the tournament; beat Munster and they put themselves in a position to win the pool. Lose and they can all but likely check out of the tournament and put their focus purely on securing their Premiership status next season.
While the commitment and desire of the players in Europe is not under question, a loss to Munster may see a team selection in Round 4 that reflects their full focus on domestic affairs.