The action kicks off in Bristol under the lights on Friday night when the Bears welcome Bordeaux-Begles at Ashton Gate for a chance to contest the Challenge Cup masterpiece.
A highly successful double Champions Cup title then heads the headlines on Saturday when reigning champions Saracens take on Racing 92 before Exeter Chiefs take on Toulouse. Rugby lovers can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
The Leicester Tigers will close out the Anglo-French drama against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol later that day as Steve Borthwick’s men compete for a spot in the Challenge Cup final. And there will be a large contingent of British and Irish Lions, along with those who have ambitions to be on the plane to South Africa next year, participating in all four games.
The Penultimal dance of the Saracenes:
As the Saracens prepare for a season in the Championship, the Men in Black are treating the defense of their European crown as the last chance for this current team to achieve success. With several players already gone, loaned or retired, and others to follow, the Saracens could look like an entirely different team by the time they return to compete at the top table in Europe.
But after finishing Leinster’s season undefeated the last time, there is still a chance to win the silver medal this year if they can defeat Racing 92 in their semi-final meeting in Paris. Lions like Mako Vunipola, Elliot Daly, Jamie George, and Maro Itoje will certainly help the visitors’ cause, but they will have to keep Scotland’s Finn Russell calm to progress.
“All eyes are on this competition for us this year,” said Daly, a 2017 Lions tourist.
“There are some huge guys in that locker room who won’t be Sarries next year, so we’re doing it for them right now. Hopefully we have two more games”.
Bosses start new field in Europe:
Exeter Chiefs will contest their first Champions Cup semi-final when they take on French giant and four-time European champion Toulouse at Sandy Park. And Rob Baxter will depend on his big-name players coming to the fore for the Devon team as they try to defeat the star-studded visitors to reach the silver masterpiece.
One of the main threats Exeter will have to face is the offensive prowess of South Africa’s World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe, who scored a double in his quarter-final win over Ulster. Rugby lovers can book British lions tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
It’s an enigma that Warren Gatland will also hope to face when the Lions take on the Springboks next year, with the sidestepping master arguably the best winger in world rugby at the moment.
But the Chiefs are not lacking in their attacking talent thanks to a backline made up of Lions tourists Stuart Hogg and Jack Nowell, along with England international Henry Slade. Hogg and Nowell, in particular, were in great shape when Exeter defeated Northampton Saints last time out and a similar performance wouldn’t do any harm to their 2021 Tour hopes.
Test Challenge for Bears and Tigers:
Premiership teams Bristol Bears and Leicester Tigers face a French obstacle on their way to the Challenge Cup final when they face Bordeaux and Toulon, respectively. Pat Lam’s Bears have been one of the fit teams in European rugby since the restart and feature international talents like Lions mainstay Kyle Sinckler and England’s rising star Ben Earl.
Earl was at the heart of Bristol’s resounding 56-17 victory over Dragons in the quarterfinals, scoring two attempts at Ashton Gate, and will expect more of the same against Bordeaux. Meanwhile, the other semi-final will see Leicester travel to France to face Toulon, who will have French captain Charles Ollivon and Italian legend Sergio Parisse in the back row.
The Tigers were given a goodbye to reach this stage after their quarter-finals with Castres were canceled, so 2017 Lions assistant coach Borthwick hopes his players are fresh for their quarter-final competition. Lions duo Tom and Ben Youngs start for the visitors, while England internationals George Ford and Ellis Genge are also in the XV for the club’s biggest game of the season.
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