Home Rugby Selecting A Pro12 Champions Cup Quarter Final Select XV To Take On Their Aviva Premiership And Top 14 Equivalents

Selecting A Pro12 Champions Cup Quarter Final Select XV To Take On Their Aviva Premiership And Top 14 Equivalents

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 14: Connor Murray of Munster Rugby kicks for touch under pressure during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Glasgow Warriors and Munster Rugby at Scotstoun Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

After the conclusion of the Six Nations, rugby fans turn their attention to the European Rugby Champions Cup this weekend.

However, unlike last season when Pro12 sides didn’t feature at the quarter-final stage, this weekend will see Munster, Leinster and the Glasgow Warriors strut their stuff in the final eight of the competition. Although the Scottish side would need to beat Saracens in order to progress to the last four, it would not be unreasonable to expect both Irish provinces to advance.

Such a scenario would see the much-derided league earn greater credibility and allow the Pro12 to restore some of the confidence it lost after Europe’s leading club competition evolved from the Heineken Cup.

Despite not possessing the resources available to the likes of Toulon, Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse, Saracens or Wasps, each of the Pro12’s three quarterfinalists have squads packed with international talent. Indeed, the Warriors supply the bulk of the Scottish squad, while Munster and Leinster provide Joe Schmidt with a substantial proportion of Ireland’s starting XV.

This essentially means that fans will get the chance to watch the better part of both the Irish and Scottish national teams once again line out this weekend, even though the Six Nations concluded earlier this month.

Nevertheless, Saracens have an intimidating squad at their disposal and Wasps have signed some of rugby’s biggest names in a bid to make their mark on the European game. Likewise, while Toulon might not possess the same calibre of players that lifted three consecutive titles, they nonetheless remain a threat to Clermont on Sunday.

Toulouse too are able to field players such as Richie Gray, Yoann Maestri, Thierry Dusautoir, Gaël Fickou and Yoann Huget. Nevertheless, a combined Pro12 side made up of players contesting this weekend’s quarterfinals is more than a match for equivalent Top 14 and Premiership selections.

Pro12Aviva PremiershipTop 14
1. Jack McGrath1. Mako Vunipola1. Vincent Debaty
2. Fraser Brown2. Jamie George2. Guilhem Guirado
3. Tadhg Furlong3. Vincent Koch3. Davit Zirakashvili
4. Donnacha Ryan4. Joe Launchbury4. Richie Gray
5. Jonny Gray5. Maro Itoje5. Yoann Maestri
6. Peter O’Mahony6. Schalk Burger6. Mamuka Gorgodze
7. Sean O'Brien7. James Haskell7. Liam Gill
8. CJ Stander8. Billy Vunipola8. Duane Vermeulen
9. Conor Murray9. Dan Robson9. Morgan Parra
10. Johnny Sexton10. Danny Cipriani10. Camille Lopez
11. Tommy Seymour11. Chris Ashton11. Nick Abendanon
12. Robbie Henshaw12. Owen Farrell12. Matt Giteau
13. Alex Dunbar13. Kurtley Beale13. Gaël Fickou
14. Adam Byrne14. Christian Wade14. Yoann Huget
15. Stuart Hogg15. Alex Goode15. Leigh Halfpenny

Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

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