# European Rugby Champions Cup

January 2023
# Work to do
'We need to improve all the time' - Scrum and maul high on Leinster's agenda
The province are unbeaten this season but have had issues around the setpiece.
# Great Scot
Finn Russell welcomes Ben Healy's Scotland switch
The Racing 10 is set to link up with Munster’s Healy in Scotland camp for the Six Nations.
# Leader
Influential Ringrose shows his class as Leinster end pool campaign on a high
The centre is in superb form and provided some brilliant moments against Racing.
# Top seeds
Six-try Leinster made to work before pulling clear of dogged Racing
The province led by just two points at half time but eventually had too much firepower for the French side.
# Centre stage
Osborne: 'I'm really proud to have played all the way up through the clubs pathway'
The 21-year-old Leinster player came through the ranks at Naas RFC.
# Star Man
'He’s just getting better all the time' - Osborne announces himself on Champions Cup stage
Leo Cullen felt the centre had some ‘outstanding moments’ against Gloucester.
# Three from Three
Osborne stars as Leinster bag bonus-point win at Gloucester
The province scored seven tries as they powered to another impressive Champions Cup win.
# Preview
Leinster primed to silence Gloucester's Shed despite absence of key leaders
The province go into today’s game without a number of frontliners, including James Lowe, who has returned to New Zealand due to a family issue.
# advance
Leicester Tigers book Champions Cup last-16 place with win at Clermont
In a thrilling tie, the two-time European champions edged the try count five to four.
# French mission
Fit-again Madigan starts Ulster's daunting trip to holders La Rochelle
Dan McFarland makes nine changes from the side beaten in Treviso last weekend.
# Team news
Ross Byrne returns at out-half in strong Leinster XV for Gloucester trip
Cian Healy in line to win his 100th European cap at Kingsholm on Saturday.
# Explainer
Plenty on the line as Irish provinces turn attention back to European Cup
All four provinces are in action on Saturday across a busy weekend in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
# Incentive
'The image of having my family and friends there at a final is definitely a motivating factor'
Caelan Doris on why Leinster are determined to add a fifth European star when the Champions Cup final comes to Dublin this year.
Last year
# ruled out
Toulouse star to miss Munster Champions Cup clash due to headbutting ban
Thomas Romas has been suspended for five weeks, tournament organisers announced.
# bigger stage
Cullen: Munster-Leinster derby at Páirc Uí Chaoimh ‘would be great’ for growing the game
Leinster make the trip down to Thomond Park for a St Stephen’s Day interpro derby next week.
# tails up
'It’s huge for us' - Munster step into Christmas on a high after Northampton win
Graham Rowntree was delighted with how his side dug in to beat the Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.
# easy street
Toulouse stroll to comfortable bonus-point win over Sale
Antoine Dupont scored twice as his side ran in seven tries in a 45-19 victory.
# Digging deep
Rowntree: 'I'm really proud of them. Our defensive effort was exceptional'
Graham Rowntree highlighted the work being done by defence coach Denis Leamy following Munster’s 17-6 win over Northampton Saints.
# Up and Running
Coombes double powers Munster to victory in fiery clash with Northampton
The province did all their scoring in the first half to secure their first Champions Cup win of the season.
# Ambition
Munster back playmakers to shine against Northampton and ignite their season
The province have rewarded Jack Crowley with his first start at inside centre after he linked up well with Joey Carbery last weekend.
# grounded
Cullen: 'It's important that we're not getting carried away with ourselves'
Friday’s defeat of Gloucester saw Leinster take maximum points from their opening two Champions Cup fixtures.
# cloud nine
Leinster put 9 tries past Gloucester in desperately one-sided Champions Cup clash
The province had little trouble dispatching the English side in at the RDS.
# attacking mindset
'Munster in Europe, there’s no other expectation than to go over and win'
Munster fullback Mike Haley is preparing to return to a ground he knows well from his days in the Premiership.
# change of pace
Ala'alatoa: 'It took me a while to adjust to the way Leinster play'
The tighthead joined the province from New Zealand’s Crusaders in summer 2021.
# Packing His Bags
'We would have liked to keep him, it wasn't to be' - Munster disappointed to lose John Ryan
The prop’s move to New Zealand side the Chiefs was confirmed earlier this week.
# playmaker
'He has loads of ability' - Munster impressed by Crowley's stint at centre
Denis Leamy gives his verdict on Sunday’s defeat to Toulouse and looks ahead to this weekend’s trip to Northampton.
# Good to be back
James Lowe on Champions Cup mindset and preparing to play Santa for Leinster's 'outcasts'
The winger has looked sharp since returning from the calf injury which ruled him out of the first part of the season.
# response
Toulouse proved too strong, but Munster can make trip to Northampton with confidence
Graham Rowntree insists his squad’s progress won’t be derailed by Sunday’s Champions Cup defeat at Thomond Park.
# Wrap
Saracens and Leicester narrowly prevail in Champions Cup
It was a good day for English sides in the competition.
# outmuscled
'When you play huge teams like this, you’ve got to deal with their power'
Graham Rowntree felt small margins were the difference as Munster fell to a Champions Cup defeat to Toulouse.
# hard fought
Munster come up short in thick Thomond fog against dogged Toulouse
The province started brightly before the French side grew into the game to take a deserved opening round Champions Cup win.
# too good
Sale open Champions Cup campaign with 6-try thrashing of Ulster
Tom Curry and Daniel Du Preez both went over in the first half at the Salford City Stadium.
# heavy hitters
Munster look to give French giants Toulouse a taste of the old Thomond magic
Graham Rowntree’s side need a big performance if they are to get a result against the high-flying Top 14 leaders in Limerick today.
# Class
Ronan O'Gara caps brilliant week as La Rochelle ease to win in Champions Cup opener
There was also an historic first in Durban where Sharks became the first South African franchise to take part in the new format.
# Up for the challenge
Beirne: 'There's a special feeling around Europe in this club'
The Munster second row feels the province are in a good place ahead of the visit of Toulouse this weekend.
# Key Man
Munster prepare plan to contain 'proper Jack-in-the-box' Antoine Dupont
The French scrum-half is part of a star-studded Toulouse team heading to Limerick this weekend.
# Staying Put
Exeter's Rob Baxter rules out England job, expresses surprise at timing of Eddie Jones’ exit
Exeter have confirmed long-term deals for Baxter, head coach Ali Hepher, forwards coach Rob Hunter and skills coach Ricky Pellow.
# Tough To Take
'I would have taken playing the worst game of my career if we had won'
Last weekend’s defeat to La Rochelle was a disappointing ending to what was a breakthrough season for Jimmy O’Brien on the European stage.
# Under Pressure
Leinster search for answers after another tough day at the scrum
Robin McBryde says the province ‘weren’t good enough’ in Saturday’s Champions Cup final.
# Second best
Sheehan: Champions Cup final defeat 'a hard one to get the head around'
The Leinster hooker says it’s been tough to digest Saturday’s loss to La Rochelle in Marseille.