European Champions Cup: Saracens & Scarlets carry Britain's quarter-final hopes

Johnny Sexton against England in the Six Nations
Johnny Sexton helped Ireland to a 24-15 win over England, and the Six Nations title, at Twickenham
Leinster v Saracens
Date: Sun 1 Apr Time: 15:30 BST Venue: Aviva Stadium
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Saracens will have to deal with Leinster players riding "on a crest of a wave" from Ireland's Grand Slam success, when the teams meet in Sunday's Champions Cup quarter-final in Dublin.

Top seeds Leinster swept through the pool stages to book a home tie, only to draw the double European Champions in the last eight.

"It's a tough challenge, but it's one to relish," says Saracens boss Mark McCall. "We're very determined and we'll give it a real go."

The last time Saracens played at the Aviva Stadium, McCall's men thumped Munster on route to claiming back-to-back European titles.

But Leinster - led by former England coach Stuart Lancaster - recorded a remarkable six wins from six in a perilous-looking Pool 3 and are the team to beat in Europe this season.

"They are a great side, the pool they came through unbeaten was a heck of a pool. So to win it the way they won it was very impressive, they were playing superb rugby," McCall added on BBC Radio 5 live.

And after being given a week off to recuperate following their Six Nations heroics, the likes of Johnny Sexton, Cian Healy, Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney are set to return to a fully loaded Leinster line-up.

"They've got players on a crest of a wave really, they have won a Grand Slam and feel good about themselves," McCall added.

"They're a very well coached team, [director of rugby] Leo Cullen and [senior coach] Stuart Lancaster have done a tremendous job."

Lancaster's role in Leinster's form has been significant, with former number eight Jamie Heaslip telling the Rugby Union Weekly podcast he is "up there with Joe Schmidt" as a coach.

"It's going to be one hell of a game, between two sides with attacking prowess and good defensive systems," Heaslip added.

Scarlets player Hadleigh Parkes
New Zealander Hadleigh Parkes joined Scarlets from South African side Eastern Province Kings in 2014
Scarlets v La Rochelle
Date: Fri 30 Mar Time: 17:30 BST Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Before that, the Scarlets face their biggest European fixture in over a decade, when they host French side La Rochelle in Llanelli on Good Friday.

Following their Pro12 triumph last season, Scarlets' free-flowing approach has translated onto the European stage this campaign, with wins against Bath and Toulon sealing a place in the knockout stages and, crucially, a home tie at a sold-out Parc y Scarlets.

But La Rochelle - despite a slight dip in form of late - took Europe by storm at the start of the pool stages, crushing the likes of Harlequins and Wasps and playing an outrageously entertaining style in the process.

"Regardless of who your team is, this is a game that everyone should be watching, because you will be entertained and you will see tries," former Harlequins, England, and Lions winger Ugo Monye told Rugby Union Weekly.

"For the Scarlets, what a great chance now of making it to a semi-final. You have got to back them at home."

Chris Ashton playing for Toulon
Chris Ashton won the Champions Cup twice with Saracens before switching to France with Toulon
Munster v Toulon
Date: Sat 31 Mar Time: 15:15 BST Venue: Thomond Park

Home advantage should also prove decisive in Limerick, where Munster welcome triple-champions Toulon.

But despite the clear benefits of playing in front of a parochial Thomond Park crowd, the Munstermen have been beset by injuries, with in-form Ireland wing Keith Earls among those to be ruled out.

Toulon meanwhile tuned up for the game by dismantling Clermont Auvergne 49-0 in the Top 14 last weekend, with English winger Chris Ashton - twice a champion with Saracens - on the verge of breaking the French league's try-scoring record this season.

"There have not been many better finishers in the last decade," said Monye.

"It doesn't matter where Chris Ashton is playing his rugby, he is scoring tries."

Fritz Lee of Clermont
Samoan Fritz Lee joined Clermont Auvergne in 2013
Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92
Date: Sun 1 Apr Time: 13:00 BST Venue: Stade Marcel-Michelin

As for Clermont Auvergne, the French champions have slumped to a lowly 9th in the Top 14 this season, but are no doubt targeting Europe, having been edged out by Saracens in last season's showpiece at Murrayfield.

Clermont produced arguably the performance of the pool stages when they thrashed Sarries at Allianz Park in December and with key players returning from injury they should still be backed to beat Racing 92 at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

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