Nika Amashukeli of Georgia will make his debut as a Heineken Champions Cup referee when he takes charge of the round three fixture between Pool B joint-leaders Racing 92 and Harlequins at Paris La Defense Arena on Sunday, January 17.

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The selection of the unheralded Amashukeli for the high-profile live TV fixture is one of 38 referee appointments for rounds three and four of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup announced on Wednesday by a committee chaired by Joel Jutge, the EPCR head of match officials.

The inclusion of Amashukeli on the roster isn’t the only eye-catching development as two women new to this level have also been appointed to take charge of Challenge Cup preliminary round fixtures.

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England’s Sara Cox will make her debut as a referee in European competition when she takes charge of Agen vs Benetton at Stade Armandie on January 15. Similarly, the following day, Hollie Davidson of Scotland will referee her first Challenge Cup fixture when Newcastle Falcons host Castres Olympique at Kingston Park.

Returning to Champions Cup, Ireland’s Frank Murphy will be in the middle for the key Pool B showdown at Sandy Park between holders Exeter Chiefs and Toulouse on January 16 while Luke Pearce of England has been appointed to referee the eagerly awaited return match between Munster and Clermont at Thomond Park that same day.

Also in Pool B, England’s Christophe Ridley will be in charge of the clash of joint-leaders, Lyon and Glasgow Warriors at Matmut Stadium de Gerland. At the top of Pool A, Leinster’s meeting with Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens on January 15 will be refereed by Alexandre Ruiz of France.

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Scotland’s Mike Adamson has been appointed for the head-to-head between Montpellier and Wasps at the GGL Stadium the following day. Karl Dickson of England will be in the middle when unbeaten Bordeaux-Bègles take on the Dragons at Rodney Parade on January 17 while the clash of Bath and in-form La Rochelle at the Recreation Ground on the same day will be refereed by Wales’ Ben Whitehouse (click here for all round three and four appointments).

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