Former Heineken Cup champions Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints could both have to go into this weekend's Round 3 matches without key players after Alesana Tuilagi and Tom Wood saw red in the big East Midlands derby at the weekend.
Tigers' Samoan wing and Saints' England back row man were both dismissed by international referee Wayne Barnes following a mass brawl after 14 minutes of the game between the two clubs at Welford Road. Tigers went on to record their first home win of the Premiership season, 30-25.
Saints, last season's beaten Heineken Cup finalists, face a trip to Castres Olympique in Pool 1 this weekend knowing that a third straight European defeat this term would wreck any hopes of treading the same path as last season into the final.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are in better shape at the top of Pool 4 and currently enjoy a two point lead over this weekend's rivals, ASM Clermont Auvergne, after two successive victories. They travel to Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday for the first leg of a double header that could well determine who qualifies from the Pool.
Tuilagi and Wood will be subject to a disciplinary hearing this week that will determine whether or not they are free to play this weekend or next.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.