European Leagues return

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Top 14 returns this weekend after the Champions Cup break, and plenty of Aussies will feature.

Veteran Wallabies back Adam Ashley-Cooper will start on the wing for Bordeaux for the first time, against Castres Olympique.

Ashley-Cooper has played a handful of matches for the side, mainly playing outside centre in those appearances.

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu will come off the bench for Bordeaux in the match.

Lock Peter Kimlin will start for Grenoble against bottom side, Agen, a match in which they should be easy favourites.

Former Wallabies back Jesse Mogg will line up at fullback for Montpellier against second-placed Clermont on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Ex-Wallabies and Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen will come off the bench in the match, his first outing for Montpellier in four weeks, along with Nic White.

Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper is expected to be named in Toulon’s match against Stade Francais on Monday morning (AEDT), with Matt Giteau still injured and Freddie Michalak under a cloud.

The move means Cooper is unlikely to return to Australia until Wednesday February 3, ahead of his Sydney 7s debut three days later.

Peter Betham will start for Leicester in the Premiership. Photo: Getty Images

PREMIERSHIP 

George Smith's Wasps looked set for a big win against Northampton as they kicked off the Premiership round action on Saturday morning (AEDT).

Wasps headed into the half-time break up 24-3, with three unanswered opening half tries.

While Wasps have had a surprisingly successful Champions Cup campaign, topping their pool, they’ were sitting sixth on the Premiership table coming into the weekend.

Former Wallabies captain James Horwill will start for Harlequins against Newcastle in their Premiership clash this weekend.

The London side will go into the clash as heavy favourites, against the last-placed Falcons.

Capped Wallaby Peter Betham will start on the left wing for Leicester when they take on Gloucester on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Capped Wallabies winger Cooper Vuna will start on the left wing for Worcester when they face Exeter on Monday morning (AEDT).

PRO12 

Former Melbourne Rebel Luke Burgess will start at scrumhalf for Zebre against Munster on Sunday morning (AEDT), with lock Mark Chisholm starting for the opposition.

Taqele Naiyaravoro will start at outside centre for Glasgow when the Warriors take on Ospreys on Monday morning (AEDT).

TOP LEAGUE

Bernard Foley will finish his first season with Japanese Top League side Ricoh Black Rams, as they play to avoid relegation.

Foley has been named on the bench for the playoff, against the Osaka Police.

Former Wallabies winger Nick Cummins will be injected off the bench for the Coca-Cola Red Sparks in their relegation playoff against the Kyuden Vortex.

Capped Wallaby Sam Norton-Knight will come off the pine for the NEC Green Rockets when they take Mitsubishi to keep their Top League spot.

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