After a clean sweep last weekend the four provinces won't even get the chance to double down after Leinster's clash with Montpellier was called off.

That EPCR have decided to award all five match points to the Top14 outfit has gone down like a lead ballon with the four-time champions, who can now only reach a maximum of 15 points in the table, providing they beat Bath and Montpellier in the return fixtures.

The ramifications will be felt further down the line when the seedings for the knockout stages and subsequent favourable home draws takes place.

On the pitch, following a super away win at Clermont, Ulster host Northampton on Friday evening at Ravenhill, while Munster welcome back a number of players as they bid to back up a famous success against Wasps when Castres come to Thomond.

Connacht, meanwhile, head to Premiership leaders Leicester, hoping to build on a fine victory over Stade Francais.


TV

The three games are live on BT Sport

RADIO

Ulster v Northampton and Munster v Castres are live on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra and RTÉ Radio 1

ONLINE

RTE.ie/sport will have live scoring and blogs with match reports and reaction from the grounds.

WEATHER

There's fog forecast for Belfast this evening, temperature around 8C. Saturday will see cloud cover over Limerick, in about 7C. Leicester is set for mostly cloudy conditions in 4-5C on Sunday afternoon.

FULL TABLE AND FIXTURES

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


Dan McFarland is able to welcome back Ireland lock and captain Iain Henderson after his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Not that they needed him last week when registering a superb 29-23 win in Clermont. Consistency has been Ulster's problem this season but they'll be determined to back up last week with another electric performance.

Northampton looked a ragged bunch at times during last weekend's home hammering by Racing 92. They went down 45-14 to the Parisians. Courtney Lawes is back in harness for the trip.

This will be the sixth clash between Ulster and Northampton in the Champions Cup with the hosts having won twice and lost three times.

Northampton have won only two of their ten away games against Irish teams in the competition.


Ulster: Mike Lowry; Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore; Alan O'Connor, Iain Henderson (capt); Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Tom O'Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Greg Jones, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore.

Northampton: Ahsee Tuala; Ollie Sleightholme, Matt Proctor, Fraser Dingwall, Courtnall Skosan; George Furbank. Alex Mitchell; Alex Waller, Mikey Haywood, Ehren Painter; David Ribbans, Api Ratuniyarawa; Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam (capt), Tom Wood.

Replacements: James Fish, Emmanuel Iyogun, Conor Carey, Alex Coles, Juarno Augustus, Tom James, James Grayson, Rory Hutchinson.

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy).



Munster almost out-Munstered themselves last week when claiming a famous 35-14 win against Wasps despite preparing and playing without 34 players, who had been isolating following Covid-19-related issues.

Castres, meanwhile, suffered a 20-18 home defeat to Harlequins.

Johann van Graan, who announced he will join Bath next season, will be able to call upon a number of players who missed out last week.

Munster have lost none of their last 14 home games in the pool stage of the competition, winning 13 and drawing once.

This will be the 17th clash between the sides in the Champions Cup, the most played fixture in the history of the tournament.

The Reds have won each of their seven home games against Castres by an average margin of 22 points.


Munster: Team announced at midday.

Castres: Team announced at midday.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England).


Andy Friend's stylish Connacht outfit secured a bonus-point win in their opener last weekend at home to Stade Francais.

Top of the Premiership Tigers could even afford to rest a number of players for their 16-13 win away at Top 14 leaders Bordeaux last weekend.


Leicester: Team announced at midday.

Connacht: Team announced at midday.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France).