The last eight will battle for a spot in the semis

The Challenge Cup quarter-final team news is being announced before the games happen this weekend. There are several tasty matches in the last eight and it all kicks off with Gloucester v Ospreys on Friday night.

They are difficult fixtures to predict as they are expected to be close battles. But what else would you expect from the European competition?

Here is all the team news you need to know.

Challenge Cup quarter-final team news: Gloucester v Ospreys

Gloucester hooker Seb Blake returns from a minor injury in the front row, alongside prop Jamal Ford-Robinson who made his 100th appearance for the club last time out. Fly-half Adam Hastings also starts after it was confirmed he would join Glasgow Warriors next season.

Opreys, meanwhile, start hooker Sam Parry after his missed out last time out through injury. Former Wales international Justin Tipuric will skipper the side.

Gloucester: Santiago Carreras; Jonny May, Max Llewellyn, Seb Atkinson, Jacob Morris; Adam Hastings, Stephen Varney; Jamal Ford-Robinson, Seb Blake, Kirill Gotovtsev, Freddie Clarke, Freddie Thomas, Ruan Ackermann, Lewis Ludlow, Zach Mercer

Replacements: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Fraser Balmain, Albert Tuisue, Jack Clement, Caolan Englefield, Charlie Atkinson, Chris Harris

Ospreys: Jack Walsh; Luke Morgan, Keiran Williams, Owen Watkin, Keelan Giles; Owen Williams, Reuben Morgan-Williams; Gareth Thomas, Sam Parry, Tom Botha, James Ratti, Adam Beard, Harri Deaves, Justin Tipuric, Morgan Morris

Replacements: Lewis Lloyd, Nicky Smith, Rhys Henry, Huw Sutton, Morgan Morse, Luke Davies, Dan Edwards, Max Nagy

Clermont v Ulster

Clermont hooker Yohan Beheregaray earns his third start of the season and joins Giorgi Beria and Rabah Slimani in the front row.

Ulster have wing Mike Lowry back in the starting team after he recovered from concussion.

Clermont: Alex Newsome; Bautista Delguy, Léon Darricarrere, Julien Heriteau, Alivereti Raka; Anthony Belleau, Baptiste Jauneau; Giorgi Beria, Yohan Beheregaray, Rabah Slimani, Thibault Lanen, Tomas Lavanini, Killian Tixeront, Peceli Yato, Pita-Gus Sowakula

Replacements:  Etienne Fourcade, Daniel Bibi Biziwu, Giorgi Dzmanashvili, Rob Simmons, Alexandre Fischer, Sebastien Bezy, Theo Giral, Joris Jurand

Ulster: Stewart Moore; Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Mike Lowry; Nathan Doak, John Cooney; Steven Kitshoff, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson, Harry Sheridan, David McCann, Nick Timoney

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Andrew Warwick, Scott Wilson, Cormac Izuchukwu, Dave Ewers, Jake Flannery, Ethan Mcilroy, Marcus Rea

Sharks v Edinburgh

The Sharks are jam packed with South African stars, including Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Eben Etzebeth.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, pack a Scottish punch with Duhan van der Merwe, Ben Healy and Jamie Ritchie in their ranks.

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi; Werner Kok, Lukhanyo Am, Ethan Hooker, Makazole Mapimpi; Siya Masuku, Jaden Hendrikse; Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Emile van Heerden, James Venter, Vincent Tshituka, Phepsi Buthelezi

Replacements: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Hanro Jacobs, Corne Rahl, Lappies Labuschagne, Grant Williams, Curwin Bosch, Francois Venter

Edinburgh: Wes Goosen, Jacob Henry, Mark Bennett, Matt Currie, Duhan van der Merwe; Ben Healy, Ben Vellacott; Pierre Schoeman,  Ewan Ashman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Bill Mata

Replacements: Dave Cherry, Boan Venter, D’arcy Rae, Jamie Hodgson, Luke Crosbie, Ali Price, James Lang, Chris Dean

Benetton v Connacht

Michele Lamaro is in the form of his life at the moment and he will lead Benetton at home. Sebastian Negri and Niccolo Cannone are among the other Italian internationals in the starting line-up.

Connacht, meanwhile, start one of the best players in the world in Bundee Aki.

Benetton: Rhyno Smith; Ignacio Mendy, Tommaso Menoncello, Nacho Brex, Onisi Ratave; Tomas Albornoz, Alessandro Garbisi; Thomas Gallo, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Simone Ferrari, Niccolo Cannone, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro, Toa Halafihi

Replacements: Bautista Bernasconi, Mirco Spagnolo, Giosue Zilocchi, Eli Snyman, Alessandro Izekor, Lorenzo Cannone, Andy Uren, Jacob Umaga

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Andrew Smith, David Hawkshaw, Bundee Aki, Shane Jennings; JJ Hanrahan,  Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Joe Joyce, Darragh Murray, Cian Prendergast, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Paul Boyle

Replacements: Eoin de Buitlear, Peter Dooley, Sam Illo, Niall Murray, Conor Oliver, Matthew Devine, Cathal Forde, Tom Farrell

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