Champions Cup: Leinster without Johnny Sexton for Racing 92 opener as fully loaded teams set for opening weekend

Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne kicking Credit: Alamy
Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne kicking Credit: Alamy

The Champions Cup returns this weekend with the opening round of the 2022/23 season, and there are 12 matches scheduled over the weekend, including defending champions La Rochelle hosting Northampton Saints on Saturday.

Check out all the team news and predictions, here.

Friday

London Irish v Montpellier

Prediction: Montpellier by 10

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Ben Loader, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Facundo Gigena
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Luca Morisi

Montpellier: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Thomas Darmon, 12 Paolo Garbisi, 11 George Bridge, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Alexandre Becognee, 6 Yacouba Camara (c), 5 Bastien Chalureau, 4 Florian Verhaeghe, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Enzo Forletta
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 George Tuinukuafe, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Clement Doumenc, 20 Leo Coly, 21 Julien Tisseron, 22 Masivesi Dakuwaqa, 23 Marco Tauleigne

Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy), Clara Munarini (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

Saturday

Sharks v Harlequins

Prediction: Harlequins by 5

The teams:

Sharks: 15 Boeta Chamberlain, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (c), 7 Will Evans, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 George Hammond, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Oscar Beard, 23 Will Edwards

Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park
Kick-off: 15:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Tual Trainini (France)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Benoit Rousselet (France)
TMO: Thomas Charabas (France)

Racing 92 v Leinster

Prediction: Leinster by 3

The teams:

Racing 92: 15 Max Spring, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Gaël Fickou (c), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Nolann Le Garrec, 8 Maxime Baudonne, 7 Ibrahim Diallo, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Fabien Sanconnie, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Janick Tarrit, 17 Hassane Kolingar, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Anton Bresler, 21 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 22 Antoine Gibert, 23 Olivier Klemenczak

Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jimmy O’Brien, 13 Garry Ringrose (c), 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 James Ryan, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Cian Healy, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Jamie Osborne

Venue: Stade Océane
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Harry Walbaum (England), John Meredith (England)
TMO: Andrew Jackson (England)

Gloucester v Bordeaux-Begles

Prediction: Gloucester by 5

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Jonny May, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Steve Varney, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Cameron Jordan, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Seb Blake, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Albert Tuisue, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Jack Reeves

Bordeaux-Begles: 15 Romain Buros, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Tani Vili, 12 Federico Mori, 11 Geoffrey Cros, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Mahamadou Diaby (c), 6 Renato Giammarioli, 5 Alban Roussel, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sipili Falatea, 2 Maxime Lamothe, 1 Lekso Kaulashvili
Replacements: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Christopher Vaotoa, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Jules Gimbert, 22 Gatien Masse, 23 Louis Bielle-Biarrey

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Mike English (Wales), Rhys Jones (Wales)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

Clermont Auvergne v Stormers

Prediction: Stormers by 3

The teams:

Clermont: 15 Alex Newsome, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Samuel Ezeala, 12 Apisai Naqalevu, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Sebastien Bezy, 8 Jacobus van Tonder, Alexandre Fischer, 6 Arthur Iturria (c), 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Tomas Lavanini, 3 Cristian Ojovan, Yohan Beheregaray, 1 Eitienne Falgoux
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Boudou, 17 Giorgi Beria, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Thibaud Lenen, 20 Killian Tixeront, 21 Baptiste Jauneau, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Chiekh Tiberghien

Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Alapati Leuia, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Gary Porter, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c)
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Clayton Blommetjies

Venue: Stade Marcel-Michelin
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Alex Thomas (England), Wayne Falla (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

La Rochelle v Northampton Saints

Prediction: La Rochelle by 15

The teams:

La Rochelle: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 UJ Seuteni, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Pierre Boudehent, 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Grégory Alldritt (c), 7 Yoan Tanga, 6 Remi Bourdeau, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Thomas Lavault, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Reda Wardi
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq Brettes, 17 Léo Aouf, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Romain Sazy, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Thomas Berjon, 22 Levani Botia, 23 Martin Alonso Munoz

Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 James Ramm, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Tom James, 8 Lewis Ludlam (c), 7 Aaron Hinkley, 6 Alex Coles, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Robbie Smith, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Emmanuel Iyogun, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Alex Mitchell, 23 Rory Hutchinson

Venue: Stade Marcel Deflandre
Kick-off: 18:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Peter Martin (Ireland), Oisin Quinn (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Bulls v Lyon

Prediction: Bulls by 7

The teams:

Bulls: 15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morné Steyn (c), 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Muller Uys, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Jan Hendrik Wessels, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Sebastian Lombard, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris B Smith, 23 Juan Mostert

Lyon: 15 Leo Berdeu, 14 Ethan Dumortier, 13 Tavite Veredamu, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain (c), 8 Arno Botha, 7 Mickael Guillard, 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Paulo Tafili, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Jérôme Rey
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Marchand, 17 Hamza Kaabèche, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Theo William, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Jonathan Pélissié, 22 Xavier Mignot, 23 Alexandre Tchaptchet

Venue: Loftus Versfeld
Kick-off: 19:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Sara Cox (England)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)

Castres v Exeter Chiefs

Prediction: Castres by 8

The teams:

Castres: 15 Julien Dumora, 14 Geoffrey Palis, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Antoine Zeghdar, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Louis Le Brun, 9 Gauthier Doubrere, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Nick Champion de Crespigny, 6 Mathieu Babillot (c), 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Pierre Colonna, 17 Loîs Guérois-Galisson, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Théo Hannoyer, 20 Kevin Kornath, 21 Josaia Raisuqe, 22 Rory Kockott, 23 Adrien Seguret

Exeter: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Rory O’Loughlin, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Dafydd Jenkins, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Will Becconsall, 22 Solomone Kata, 23 Josh Hodge

Venue: Stade Pierre Fabre
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 GMT)
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Cole (Ireland), Dan Carson (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Sunday

Sale Sharks v Ulster

Prediction: Sale by 5

The teams:

Sale: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Arron Reed, 13 Sam James, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Rob du Preez (c), 9 Gus Warr, 8 Daniel Du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Byron McGuigan

Ulster: 15 Mike Lowry, 14 Ethan McIlroy, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Nathan Doak, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O’Connor (c), 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Andy Warwick
Replacements: 16 Tom Stewart, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Marcus Rea, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Stewart Moore, 23 Ben Moxham

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Dufort (France), Flavien Hourquet (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

Saracens v Edinburgh

Prediction: Saracens by 14

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Theo McFarland, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Jackson Wray, 22 Aled Davies, 23 Alex Goode

Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Patrick Harrison, 17 Boan Venter, 18 WP Nel, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Ben Muncaster, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 Damien Hoyland

Venue: StoneX Stadium
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco Baqué (France), David Beun (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Munster v Toulouse

Prediction: Munster by 2

The teams:

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 John Hodnett, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Jack O’Donoghue, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Paddy Patterson, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Keith Earls

Toulouse: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Ange Capuozzo, 13 Dimitri Delibes, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (c), 8 Alexandre Roumat, 7 Alban Placines, 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Emmanuel Meafou, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Rodrigue Neti
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Thibaud Flament, 20 Yannick Youyoutte, 21 Jack Willis, 22 Martin Page Relo, 23 Lucas Tauzin

Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Christophe Ridley (England)
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald (England), James Clarke (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Ospreys v Leicester Tigers

Prediction: Leicester by 10

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Max Nagy, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Jack Walsh, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (c), 6 Jac Morgan, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Francis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Huw Sutton, 20 Rhys Davies, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Mike Collins

Leicester: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Olly Cracknell, 7 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 6 George Martin, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Charlie Clare, 1 James Whitcombe
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Sean Jansen, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Matt Scott

Venue: Swansea.com Stadium
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Ludovic Cayre (France)
Assistant referees: Pierre-Baptiste Nuchy (France), Jonathan Gasnier (France)
TMO: Eric Briquet-Campin (France)

READ MORE: Champions Cup: Tadhg Beirne admits ‘there’s a special feeling around Europe’ at Munster

The article Champions Cup: Leinster without Johnny Sexton for Racing 92 opener as fully loaded teams set for opening weekend appeared first on Planetrugby.com.