Northampton Saints might already have qualification for the European Champions Cup Round of 16 secured but they won’t take their foot off the gas as they travel to Munster on Saturday (17:30).
The Saints have won all of their three games in the competition so far but will be determined to make sure they secure a home tie at Franklin’s Gardens for the next stage of the competition.
Munster need just a point from this game at Thomond Park to ensure they too reach the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition this season.
Starting with Munster, the hosts have made one change from the side that earned an impressive win in France against Toulon last time out.
The change comes at tighthead prop, with Oli Jager completing his return to play protocols to earn a place in the starting XV.
All nine players who were named in Ireland’s 2024 Six Nations squad have been named in the Munster squad for this one.
Shane Darly, Calvin Nash and Simon Zebo start in the back three, with Alex Nankivell and Antoine Frisch retained in the centres.
In the halfbacks it’s Craig Casey and Jack Crowley, while the back-row consists of new Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony, John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes.
Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell and Jager back up the front-row, with Tom Ahern and Tadhg Beirne making up the rest of the pack.
As for Northampton, the Saints make just one change from the side that thrashed Bayonne 61-14 last time out, as No.8 Juarno Augustus comes into the starting XV.
Saints boast an impressive settled backline with familiar faces George Furbank (c), Tommy Freeman, Fraser Dingwall, Rory Hutchinson, Ollie Sleightholme, Fin Smith and Alex Mitchell all starting.
In the pack it’s Alex Waller, Curtis Langdon and Trevor Davison who make up the front-row, with locks Temo Mayanavanua and Alex Coles in behind.
The back-row consists of Courtney Lawes, Tom Pearson and Augustus.
Munster are the clear favourites to claim the victory on home soil at 2/9, while Premiership frontrunners Northampton are 10/3 to head back to England with the win.
A tie on Saturday evening is available at 22/1.
Northampton +7.5 handicap @ 6/5
This should be a cracking contest between two sides that will harbour ambitions of going far in the Champions Cup this season.
Both teams boast a host of international stars from Ireland and England, with a physical encounter expected at Thomond Park.
Munster were on a four-game winless run before their 29-18 victory at Toulon last time out.
The hosts will be tough to beat on their own patch but there is value to be had with going for Northampton at +7.5 in the handicap market.
This is a young and fearless Saints side with a backline that can strike from anywhere.
Northampton have enough attacking threat about them to fall on the right side of the handicap in this one and are 6/5 to do so.
Check out the rest of our Rugby Union Betting Tips here.