Guinness Six Nations stars in domestic action as league seasons hot up

Marcus Smith kicks a penalty 19/3/2022
Guinness Six Nations are set to star for their clubs this week as they return to league action following a fortnight of European encounters.

Guinness Six Nations are set to star for their clubs this week as they return to league action following a fortnight of European encounters.

Leagues are reaching the business end of the season, and plenty of Guinness Six Nations stars will be hoping to have a say over who is lifting silverware at the end.

Top four clash in Premiership

It’s a stellar weekend of action in the Premiership, as the current top four go head-to-head.

Harlequins welcome Leicester Tigers to the Stoop in a game that will have plenty of international stars on show.

England stars Marcus Smith and Danny Care will combine in the half-back roles, while Joe Marchant will look to spearhead the Quins attack from outside centre alongside Scotland’s Huw Jones at full-back.

In the forwards, Quins No.8 Alex Dombrandt won’t face compatriot Ellis Genge who is on the bench, though there is England representation for Tigers in the form of Ben Youngs and George Ford.

The other big game sees Saracens taken on Exeter Chiefs on Sunday, with Saracens once again able to call on their fleet of England players.

Max Malins, Elliot Daly, and Owen Farrell once more combine in the backs, while Jamie George and Nick Isiekwe will pack down against Scotland duo Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner.

Wales’ Nick Tompkins starts at inside centre for Sarries with Scotland’s Sean Maitland on the wing, while Stuart Hogg lines up at full-back for Chiefs and Henry Slade gets a rare start at fly-half.

Elsewhere, Gloucester will be looking to continue their push for the top four and name Scotland’s Adam Hastings and Chris Harris in the backs, with Wales’ Louis Rees-Zammitt on the wing.

Northampton Saints are also in the hunt for a semi-final berth, but will have to do without Wales fly-half Dan Biggar or England’s Courtney Lawes.

They face a Bath side who will hope England’s Charlie Ewels and Wales No.8 Taulupe Faletau can power them to victory.

Stars travel to South Africa

In the United Rugby Championship, the action kicks off on Friday evening as Glasgow Warriors take on the DHL Stormers.

Scotland are well-represented with Oli Kebble, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, and Rory Darge all lining up in the forwards ahead of Ali Price, Ross Thompson, Kyle Steyn, Sam Johnson, and Sione Tuipilotu in the backs.

The other action on Friday sees an all-Ireland clash as Ulster take on Munster at the Kingspan, while Edinburgh welcome Zebre.

Andy Farrell’s Triple Crown winners are unsurprisingly represented in Belfast, with Iain Henderson and Mike Lowry lining up for Ulster, while Joey Carbery is at fly-half for Munster.

Pierre Schoeman, Hamish Watson, Blair Kinghorn, and Mark Bennett are Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations stars in action at the DAM Health Stadium, while Luca Bigi, Danilo Fischetti, Andrea Zambonin, and Alessandro Fusco will be carrying the Tricolore for Italy.

There will also Italy players in action as Benetton travel to Vodacom Bulls, including Ivan Nemer, Giovanni Pettinelli, Manuel Zuliani, Ignacio Brex, and Monty Ioane.

Dragons take on Scarlets, with plenty of Wales stars in action at Rodney Parade.

Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, and Aaron Wainwright will line up for Dragons, while Scarlets have called upon Ryan Elias, Gareth Davies, and Jonathan Davies.

There will also be plenty of Wayne Pivac’s men in action in the second all-Wales clash of the weekend, as Cardiff take on Ospreys in the capital.

Cardiff will have the international experience of Rhys Carre, Seb Davies, and Josh Navidi in their pack while Tomos Williams and Rhys Priestland will line-up at scrum-half and fly-half.

Looking to get in their way will be international teammates Gareth Thoma, Dewi Lake, Alun Wyn Jones, Jac Morgan, Owen Watkin, and Alex Cuthbert.

The final two games see plenty of Ireland stars in action, as Connacht travel to Emirates Lions and Leinster visit Cell C Sharks.

Connacht have named hooker Dave Heffernan in their squad, alongside Jack Carty, Bundee Aki and Mack Hansen in the backs while Andrew Porter starts for Leinster.

Grand Slam stars in action

The Top 14 also gets back underway this weekend, with plenty of France’s Grand Slam stars in action across the league.

Melvyn Jaminet will turn out at full-back for Perpignan as they travel to Stade Rochelais in a crucial game for the visitors at the bottom of the table.

Fellow strugglers Biarritz face a Racing 92 side able to call on the services of Virimi Vakatawa and Teddy Thomas, while Gaël Fickou is on the bench.

Lyon travel away to Brive and will have Guinness Six Nations stars Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, and Demba Bamba to call on in their pack.

Toulon take on Toulouse, and will have France’s flying winger Gabin Villière in attack while Toulouse have Julien Marchand and Anthony Jelonch in their pack.

The final game of the weekend takes place on Sunday as first plays second in a crunch match between Montpellier and Bordeaux.

Hosts Montpellier will be without second row Paul Willemse, while Bordeaux will hope to include Cameron Woki and Yoram Moefana as well as potentially getting Matthieu Jalibert back after a long lay-off with injury.