Champions Cup: Gameweek 2 Preview and Team News
Maro Itoje and Saracens will look to make it two wins from two (image via: sunday times)

Last weekend saw the return of European club rugby disrupted due to the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening.

Many of the French sides are yet to make their bow in the tournament this season after the ERC made the correct call to postpone four of the ten matches in week one.

Of the sides that did begin their campaigns last weekend, English Premiership sides made the best starts with four wins from five games, and they will look to continue where they left off a week ago, starting with Saracens trip to Ulster on Friday evening.

Sarries return to the Kingspan to face familiar foe

After comfortably beating Toulouse last weekend, Saracens will look to make it two from two on Friday night when they face Ulster. This match is the first between the two sides since their famous quarter-final meeting two years ago, when Sarries prevailed following Jared Payne's early red card for the home side.

Ulster have been handed a huge boost with the return of Iain Henderson, who will make his first appearance of the season following a strong World Cup showing. The hosts are skippered by Rory Best for their first match of this year's competition after last week's visit to Oyonnax was called off at the last minute.

Former Ulster head coach Mark McCall has made two changes to his Saracens side as his side look to take control of Pool 1. Schalk Brits and Jacques Burger come into the pack at the expense of Jamie George and Will Fraser, with the side otherwise unchanged.

Leinster stars return for must-win clash with Bath

After being dismantled by Wasps last Sunday, Leinster know that anything over than a win will be enough in their Saturday afternoon fixture with Bath.

There are eight changes to the Leinster starting lineup, with Isa Nacewa, Ben Teo'o, Luke Fitzgerald and Isaac Boss forming a new look backline. Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Hayden Triggs start after coming off of the bench against Wasps, with Rhys Ruddock coming into the back-row in place of Sean O'Brien.

For Bath, last week's cancelation against Toulon means that they will be making their debut in this season's competition at The Rec on Saturday, with Mike Ford selecting a strong looking lineup. South African World Cup star Francois Louw captains the side from the back-row, with Dom Day and Dave Attwood starting in the second-row.

England stars George Ford and Anthony Watson start in Bath's back-line which includes other England hopefuls Matt Banahan, Kyle Eastmond, Ollie Devoto and Semesa Rokodoguni, with Chris Cook preferred to Niko Matawalu at scrum-half.

Wasps change one for visit of three-time champions

In the other Pool 5 fixture, Wasps will look to back-up their sensational victory away at Leinster, with a home triumph over the winners of the previous three tournaments, Toulon.

Wasps only change sees captain James Haskell recover, with Sam Jones dropping to the bench to accommodate his skipper's place in the starting XV. The back three of Frank Halai, Christian Wade and Charles Piutau will hope to recreate their incredible performances from the week one victory in a crucial home game.

Despite being without a number of their World Cup stars, Toulon are still sending a formidable side to Coventry. The back-line includes the likes of Quade Cooper, Bryan Habana and young try-scoring sensation Josua Tuisova, with Mathieu Bastereaud certain to make his mark from 13. The pack includes former Northampton star Samu Manoa, Juan Fernandez-Lobbe and Steffon Armitage, with Duane Vermeulen and Mamuka Gorgodze ready to make an impact from the bench.

Top 14 sides ready for lift-off

Alongside Toulon, four other Top14 sides will play their first games in this season's Champions Cup over the weekend.

Clermont Auvergne welcome the Ospreys to the Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin and are hoping this is finally the year they lose the bridesmaid tag. Englishmen David Strettle and Nick Abendanon take their place in a star-studded back-line which includes French internationals Noa Nakataci, Wesley Fofana and Aurelien Rougierie. Up front, Fritz Lee starts at eight, where he is joined in the back-row by Alexandre Lapandry and captain Damien Chouly. The Ospreys make one change from their victory over Exeter, with Thomas Grabbham coming onto the wing in place of Dafydd Howells.

In the South West of England, Bordeaux-Begles will include Sofiane Guitoune and Metuisela Talebula in their back-line against a much-changed Exeter Chiefs side. Rob Baxter has moved Henry Slade to fly-half, with Geoff Parling starting his first match for the club and Jack Yeandle captaining the side from hooker, with Luke Cowan-Dickie not named in the matchday 23.

Racing 92 still await the arrival of Dan Carter, yet are able to name a strong looking side for their opener away at the Scarlets. The home side tasted defeat to the Northampton Saints in their opener, and welcome back captain Ken Owens who will lead a side which includes World Cup stars Gareth Davies and DTH van der Merwe. Joe Rokocoko is named on the left wing for Racing, who start Remi Tales at fly-half in the absence of Carter. Welshman Luke Charteris will enjoy a return to Wales, and is named in a forward pack which includes Wenceslas Lauret, Chris Masoe and Bernard Le Roux in the back-row.

In an all-French affair, Toulouse will need to pick up a win as they host Oyonnax at the Stade Ernest Wallon. There are plenty of changes to the Toulouse side which faced defeat at Saracens, with Imanol Harinodorquoy coming into the side in place of Thierry Dusatouir, and Florian Fritz replacing the injured Toby Flood at inside centre. Oyonnax include former Premiership players Fetu'u Vainikolo and George Robson in their first ever team to play a Champions Cup fixture.

Midlands rival face tough road trips following opening victories

Steven Myler is given the start for Northampton, as they travel to Scotland to face the Glasgow Warriors. After scraping past the Scarlets in their opener, Northampton will be underdogs for the trip to Glasgow, with the Pro 12 champions including a number of Scottish internationals in their starting lineup. Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and Mark Bennett are all included by head coach Gregor Townsend, alongside Fijian giant Leone Nakarawa.

Leicester new boys Brendon O'Connor, Telusa Veainu and Peter Betham are all given starts by Richard Cockerill for their match away at Treviso. Tom Croft also starts for the Tigers, against a Treviso side led by Edoardo Gori who are coming off the back of a home defeat to Munster in their opener last Saturday.

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