France fly-half Romain Ntamack will face off with Scotland counterpart Finn Russell in the first of two tantalising Top 14 semi-finals in San Sebastian.
Ntamack will start in the No.10 jersey for Toulouse at the Anoeta Stadium in the Basque Country as France’s most successful team look to reach the final after finishing the regular season top of the table.
They will take on Racing 92, who came through a derby clash with Stade Français in the last round, with Russell set to pull the strings in what could be his final game for the club.
Ntamack and Russell last went up against one another in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations at the Stade de France, a game which France won 32-21 as both fly-halves crossed for tries.
Scotland’s comeback in that game ultimately fell short, with a try at the death from Gaël Fickou sealing maximum points for Les Bleus.
And the France centre will be hoping to make a similar impression against Toulouse, starting in the No.13 jersey for Racing.
Toulouse will be able to call on a host of their France internationals, captained by Les Bleus skipper Antoine Dupont, with Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand and François Cros all starting in the pack and Thomas Ramos on goal-kicking duties from full-back.
After the first Top 14 semi-final on Friday evening, attention will turn to Saturday’s encounter between Heineken Champions Cup winners La Rochelle and Union Bordeaux-Bègles, who won away to Lyon to reach the semi-finals.
Ahead of France’s World Cup squad selection, there are a number of intriguing head-to-head battles, notably at fly-half, where Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Hastoy could be going up against one another with a possible back-up role to Ntamack on the line.
Likewise, Bordeaux’s Yoram Moefana will be hoping to shine up against Jonathan Danty in La Rochelle’s midfield, while teenager Louis Bielle-Biarrey faces the experience of Brice Dulin in the battle of the full-backs.