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Challenge Cup

Ulster name team for Northampton Quarter-Final trip

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the trip to face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 8pm).

Michael Lowry is named to start at full-back, and is joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and Billy Burns and John Cooney are the starting half-backs.

In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore retain their starting berths. Alan O’Connor will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Last week’s Player of the Match, Sean Reidy, will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy skippering the team at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea and Greg Jones will provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy named as the back line options.

Ulster team to play Northampton Saints, Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, Saturday 10 April at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport):

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.

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Challenge Cup

Heineken Champions Cup pool draw for 2021/22

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(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

The holders, Stade Toulousain, will be up against Wasps and Cardiff Rugby in the pool stage of next season’s Heineken Champions Cup following the pool draw for the 2021/22 tournament which was held today (Wednesday 21 July) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Stade Toulousain, who completed the Heineken Champions Cup and TOP 14 double last month for the second time in the club’s history, were drawn into Pool B and will meet Wasps and Cardiff over four pool stage rounds on a home and away basis.

With the qualified clubs drawn into two pools of 12, reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins will have Castres Olympique and Cardiff as their opponents in Pool B when the tournament kicks off again in December, while last season’s PRO14 winners, Leinster Rugby, are in Pool A where they will be up against Montpellier Hérault Rugby and Bath Rugby.

Stade Rochelais, runners-up in the Heineken Champions Cup final, will meet Bath and Glasgow Warriors in Pool A, while Exeter Chiefs, who lost out to Harlequins in the Premiership decider, will take on Montpellier and Glasgow in Pool A.

Munster Rugby, who were in Tier 1 as the second-ranked qualifier from the PRO14, were drawn against Castres Olympique and Wasps in Pool B.

Elsewhere, Ulster Rugby will take on ASM Clermont Auvergne and Northampton Saints in Pool A whilst Stade Français Paris were drawn into Pool B and will take on Pat Lam’s former club, Connacht Rugby, and his current charges, Bristol Bears.

For the purposes of the draw, the 24 clubs which qualified from the TOP 14, Premiership, and the PRO14 were classified into four tiers based either on their respective league rankings or on other qualification criteria.

Each tier contained six clubs with Tier 1 made up of the number one and number two ranked clubs from each league, and Tier 2, the number three and number four ranked clubs from each league, and so on.

Starting with Tier 1, the clubs were either drawn or allocated into either Pool A or Pool B so that each pool contained 12 clubs with no clubs in the same tier from the same league in the same pool.

The key principles regarding the pool stage fixtures are that clubs will only play against opponents in the same pool, and clubs from the same league cannot play against one another.

The Tier 1 and Tier 4 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are from the same league, will play one another home and away over four rounds. The same principle applies to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league.

The exact dates of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures, as well as venues, kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as possible following consultation with clubs and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.

The 2021/22 tournament will be played over nine weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage. The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16 on a home and away basis, quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the final in Marseille on 28 May 2022.

Today’s draw, which was live-streamed on HeinekenChampionsCup.com, was conducted by EPCR’s Head of Events and Operations, Ben Harries, and by EPCR’s Partnerships Activation Executive, Laia Gonzalez. The event scrutineer was Lausanne-based solicitor, Jean-Guillaume Amiguet.

2021/22 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

POOL A (with opponents in brackets)

Stade Rochelais (Bath Rugby, Glasgow Warriors)

Exeter Chiefs (Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Glasgow Warriors)

Leinster Rugby (Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Bath Rugby)

Racing 92 (Northampton Saints, Ospreys)

Sale Sharks (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys)

Ulster Rugby (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Northampton Saints)

ASM Clermont Auvergne (Sale Sharks, Ulster Rugby)

Northampton Saints (Racing 92, Ulster Rugby)

Ospreys (Racing 92, Sale Sharks)

Montpellier Hérault Rugby (Exeter Chiefs, Leinster Rugby)

Bath Rugby (Stade Rochelais, Leinster Rugby)

Glasgow Warriors (Stade Rochelais, Exeter Chiefs)

POOL B (with opponents in brackets)

Stade Toulousain (Wasps, Cardiff Rugby)

Harlequins (Castres Olympique, Cardiff Rugby)

Munster Rugby (Castres Olympique, Wasps)

Union Bordeaux-Bègles (Leicester Tigers, Scarlets)

Bristol Bears (Stade Français Paris, Scarlets)

Connacht Rugby (Stade Français Paris, Leicester Tigers)

Stade Français Paris (Bristol Bears, Connacht Rugby)

Leicester Tigers (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Connacht Rugby)

Scarlets (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Bristol Bears)

Castres Olympique (Harlequins, Munster Rugby)

Wasps (Stade Toulousain, Munster Rugby)

Cardiff Rugby (Stade Toulousain, Harlequins)

2021/22 weekends

Round 1 – 10/11/12 December

Round 2 – 17/18/19 December

Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022

Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022

Round of 16 (1st leg) – 8/9/10 April 2022

Round of 16 (2nd leg) – 15/16/17 April 2022

Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022

Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022

Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Challenge Cup

Leicester Tigers’ Challenge Cup Final line-up named

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad for the European Challenge Cup Final against Montpellier at Twickenham Stadium.

Tom Youngs will captain the side, starting alongside Ellis Genge and Dan Cole in the Leicester front row, with Harry Wells and Calum Green as the second-row pairing.

Cyle Brink is at openside flanker, joining Hanro Liebenberg and Jasper Wiese in the Leicester back row.

“Our fans have been incredibly supportive from afar and we’re pleased they have the chance to enjoy some live rugby in the upcoming weeks, starting on Friday night at Twickenham”

Richard Wigglesworth starts at scrum-half, joining fly-half George Ford as the half-backs for Tigers, and Dan Kelly links with Matías Moroni in the Leicester midfield.

Guy Porter, Nemani Nadolo and Freddie Steward make up an unchanged Tigers back-three from the win over Harlequins last weekend.

Charlie Clare, Luan de Bruin, Cameron Henderson and Tommy Reffell are the forwards on the Leicester bench, with Ben Youngs, Zack Henry and Kini Murimurivalu as the replacement backs.

Speaking about the matchday squad named, Borthwick said: “It has been a squad-wide effort to get to this Final, with more than 40 players representing Leicester Tigers in the European Challenge Cup this season.

“On Friday night, these 23 players have the privilege of representing everyone involved at Tigers, our supporters and Leicestershire.”

Previewing the Final, the Tigers head coach added: “Montpellier are one of the game’s most well-resourced clubs and have invested heavily in building this star-studded squad.

“We know the challenge that awaits us on Friday night at Twickenham and we’re excited for the opportunity at this point on our journey as a squad.”

The Tigers head coach is also pleased that the game will be open to the club’s support for the first time since February last year.

“We haven’t shared a matchday with Tigers supporters for more than a year and are excited that we get that chance again on Friday night,” he said.

“Our fans have been incredibly supportive from afar and we’re pleased they have the chance to enjoy some live rugby in the upcoming weeks, starting on Friday night at Twickenham.

“I’m very pleased our players get the chance to play in front of Tigers fans again after so long.

“In every game we go out to put in a performance that our entire Tigers community is proud of, and that is what I will be asking of the players again this week.”

Source – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Challenge Cup

Ulster name side for European Semi

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to face Leicester Tigers in the Challenge Cup semi-final on Friday (Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium, 8pm kick-off).

The starting team sees five changes to the side that featured in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup opener against Connacht last Friday. Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore return to the starting front row, while Rob Herring is retained at hooker. Iain Henderson will captain the side and is joined by Alan O’Connor in the engine room. Matty Rea retains his starting berth at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy returning to the openside position, and Nick Timoney completing the base of the pack at Number Eight.

The starting back three remains unchanged; Jacob Stockdale is named at full-back, with Ethan McIlroy and Robert Baloucoune on the wings. Stuart McCloskey comes back into midfield to pair up with James Hume. John Cooney starts at scrum-half with Billy Burns at fly-half.

Providing the forward reinforcements from the bench are John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Sean Reidy. Alby Mathewson, Michael Lowry and Will Addison will offer back line cover.

Ulster team to play Leicester Tigers, Challenge Cup Semi-Final, Friday 30 April at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN SPORTS):

(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matty Rea, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Alby Mathewson, Michael Lowry, Will Addison.

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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