Heineken Champions Cup: Finn Russell in Parisian trilogy as Stuart Hogg’s Exeter take on Irish heavyweights

For the first time in Heineken Champions Cup history, the round of 16 is being played over two legs but Finn Russell finds himself in the midst of a Parisian trilogy.

The Scotland stand-off was in good form to help Racing 92 defeat city rivals Stade Francais 53-20 at Paris La Défense Arena in the Top 14 last weekend.

But that was merely an aperitif and the sides will meet twice more in Europe, with the first leg of their Champions Cup tie taking place on Saturday at Stade Jean Bouin and the return back at Racing’s La Défense Arena a week on Sunday.

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Laurent Travers, the Racing coach, has warned his players to expect a stiffer test at the home of their neighbours.

Finn Russell helped Racing 92 defeat Stade Francais in the league and the sides will meet again twice in the Champions Cup. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“It will not be the same team, not the same players, not the same competition, not the same conditions, not the same refereeing so it will not be the same match,” he said.

Racing have reached three finals in the last six years but have yet to lift European club rugby’s greatest prize.

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They were denied in 2020 by Exeter Chiefs who host Munster on Saturday in the last 16. Stuart Hogg starts at full-back for the Chiefs with his Scotland team-mates Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner forming a second-row partnership.

Stuart Hogg was in try-scoring form as Exeter Chiefs beat Bath last weekend. Exeter face Munster in the Champions Cup. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Huw Jones was overlooked for the Six Nations but the versatile Scotland back was in fine form for Harlequins last week, scoring two tries in the win at London Irish.

Jones was making his first start at full-back for the club and retains the No 15 jersey for Sunday’s Champions Cup first leg at Montpellier.

Elsewhere, Scotland hooker Ewan Ashman is on the bench for Sale Sharks who host Bristol.

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