With the Guinness Six Nations now done and dusted for another year, attentions turn back to domestic rugby, with the stars of Rugby’s Greatest Championship taking on a new challenge ahead of European rugby’s quarter-final weekend.
There are no shortage of matches, stories and narratives to look out for as some of the standout international players from the Championship look to translate their form to their club sides.
With rematches of Guinness Six Nations set to be played out on a domestic scale, inter-provincial rivalries aplenty and national teammates facing off, there is much to watch out for; here’s the best of it.
England v Scotland: Round Two
Scotland’s unprecedented comeback at Twickenham in Round Five of the Guinness Six Nations was a clash that will live long in the memory.
It seems apt, therefore, that at first time of asking, there will be a rematch of sorts in the Champions Cup quarter-finals when a Glasgow Warriors side stocked with Scottish internationals again makes the trip to London to face a Saracens outfit with plenty of England starters.
Sam Johnson and Ali Price are among the starters for the Warriors, while for Saracens Jamie George, Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell are all set for a feisty affair.
With a place in the semi-finals on the line, this one is only further enriched by the desire – on both parts – to enact that little bit of sweet revenge that victory would bring.
Irish giants face off
Saturday evening’s Champions Cup quarter-final is one that promises much, given the fact that it will be truly stacked with Irish internationals.
Reigning champions Leinster host Ulster at the Aviva Stadium, with brothers in arms going head to head just weeks after joining forces to down France in the same venue.
A long-lived rivalry that dates back years sees a Leinster side boasting the likes of Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.
But the filling in that front-row sandwich will be facing off on the other side, with Rory Best’s return to club duties setting up a delectable battle in the pack.
Grand Slam stars cross enemy lines
This weekend sees two stars of the Wales’ Grand Slam winning side conspicuously cross rival lines as they return to domestic action in England.
Both Liam Williams and Dan Biggar will be hoping that fans of Saracens and Northampton Saints respectively will have forgotten the duos’ performances as their nation outgunned England last month to set up Championship glory.
Williams was named Guinness Six Nations Man of the Match in the Cardiff win, but is set to turn out for Saracens in their clash against the Warriors, while Biggar helped turn things around from the bench, but goes for Northampton Saints in the Challenge Cup against Clermont Auvergne.
If they can carry over their form from the Championship, however, you won’t find any Saints or Sarries fans complaining by the end of the weekend.
French elites do battle
Sunday’s Champions Cup clash sees two titans of French rugby go head to head for a spot in the final four.
Toulouse have the better of things in their domestic Top 14 league, and also boast bragging rights in terms of their Champions Cup pedigree, with four tournament victories to their prestigious name.
It is in the midfield and back three where the league leaders will look to assert their dominance, with France stars Yoann Huget, Maxime Médard and Romain Ntamack all set to start among the backs.
But Racing will fight fire with fire; Scotland stalwart Finn Russell their creative fulcrum at fly-half, with French flyer Teddy Thomas looking to do damage out wide.
With speed, explosiveness and ingenuity all at a premium among their line-ups, this certainly isn’t one to miss.