Domestic European rugby reaches the business end

All eyes are on Saturday in European rugby this weekend as the season reaches the business end.

All eyes are on Saturday in European rugby this weekend as the season reaches the business end.

The final rounds of the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 take place while the Guinness PRO14 semi-final qualifiers are also on the slate.

And everywhere you look there are tasty NatWest 6 Nations match-ups to get your teeth into.

KNOCKOUT RUGBY ARRIVES   The two qualifiers in the Guinness PRO14 see Munster and Edinburgh lock horns while the Scarlets welcome the Cheetahs.

The Scarlets are at near full strength meaning their strong Welsh contingent that took them to a second-place finish in this year’s Championship all return.

Ken Owens captains the side at hooker, Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams are united in midfield with Rhys Patchell pulling the strings at fly-half.

It could also be the final game for the region for Tadhg Beirne before returning to his native Ireland with Munster.

And for Munster meanwhile it is a crunch clash at Thomond Park – also the final home game in red for Simon Zebo.

Zebo will line up at full-back, up against Blair Kinghorn in the No.15 jersey after the latter’s breakthrough season that saw him make his Scotland debut in the 2018 Championship and score a try against Ireland.

Elsewhere international rivalries resume as Conor Murray takes on Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Magnus Bradbury matches up with Peter O’Mahony and James Cronin and Simon Berghan front up.   In England, the play-off positions have already been decided and London Irish are confirmed as down but with Eddie Jones set to name his squad for the South Africa tour next week – there is much to play for.

Jack Nowell will start at outside centre for the table toppers Exeter this weekend as they take on Harlequins.

Chris Robshaw will have his work cut out in the back row against Don Armand and Dave Ewers in what is also Thomas Waldrom’s final game for the club.

Sticking with the back row and Jones will be interested to watch how the departing James Haskell fares alongside Jack Willis in the Wasps back row up against Mark Wilson, Gary Graham and the Falcons.

Geoge North will play his final game for Northampton against Worcester Warriors who have Ben Te’o looking to continue his try-scoring form in the No.13 shirt.

And Leicester Tigers take on Sale as Manu Tuilagi, George Ford and Jonny May look to keep Marland Yarde and the Sharks backline quiet.

FRENCH FAREWELLS   There are a number of fond farewells in the Top 14 as two France legends exit the stage.

Aurelien Rougerie will play his final game for Clermont Auvergne after 19 seasons in the Massif Central as they take on Toulouse.

The veteran winger and centre won three Championships including a pair of Grand Slams during his time with France.

Vincent Clerc bids adieu with Toulon as they take on Pau, with the latter still looking to secure a spot in the end of season barrages.

Elsewhere, Racing 92 can secure second spot in the table with a bonus-point win over Agen as they prepare for next week’s European final against Leinster.