A week before the Guinness Six Nations kicks off and after two thrilling weeks of European action, domestic rugby returns across Europe.
And the biggest news is the return of France captain Antoine Dupont, who has been out of action since December 11. A knee injury and a bout of Covid have kept him sidelined, but Dupont returns for Toulouse in their clash with Racing 92.
The encounter sees a number of Toulouse’s France contingent in action, with Romain Ntamack and Cyril Baille also starting, while Anthony Jelonch and François Cros on the bench, and provided they come through unscathed, they should feature in Fabien Galthié’s squad that is named on Sunday.
The game will also see Ntamack go up against Finn Russell for Racing, in what could be a sneak preview of Round 3 and France’s trip to BT Murrayfield.
Elsewhere leaders Bordeaux-Bègles take on Castres, with Gaëtan Barlot starting for the visitors having also recently tested positive for Covid, but Matthieu Jalibert is not yet fit for the home side. Maxime Lucu and Cameron Woki are both away with France, the latter called up this week in place of Thibaud Flament.
And there is another big game for Montpellier, who will have Italy fly-half Paolo Garbisi starting at ten in a crucial clash with La Rochelle.
Over in England, top of the table Leicester Tigers look to bounce back from their only defeat of the season against Wasps in the last round of Gallagher Premiership rugby at Sale Sharks on Sunday.
Also on Sunday is a clash between Wasps, who host second place Saracens and welcome back Joe Launchbury to the second row in a long-awaited return from injury.
Elsewhere Gloucester take on Newcastle Falcons, with Scotland centre Chris Harris starting in midfield for the Cherry & Whites while Wales flyer Louis Rees-Zammit is on the bench.
In the URC, top of the table Edinburgh visit the Liberty Stadium to face the Ospreys, who are currently sixth.
Second placed Leinster are also in action against Welsh opposition, as they visit Cardiff Rugby.
Welsh internationals James Botham and Owen Lane are all hoping to catch the eye for Cardiff and attempt to force their way into the thinking of Wayne Pivac should there be any injuries in the Wales squad.