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Champions Cup

Champions Cup, Line Ups, Predictions, KO Times & TV Coverage.

We’re predicting a clean sweep for the Irish Provinces

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It’s that time of year again, Heineken Champions Cup time!

It’s back this weekend and celebrating its 25th season!

We’ve taken a look at this weekend’s fixtures, the line ups & the refs and put together our predictions for the weekend!

Here are the fixtures for this weekend along with KO times what TV Channels will be covering the matches.

Weekend Line Ups & Predictions:

Gloucester Rugby v Toulouse

Date: Fri 15 November 2019 KO: 19:45 

Venue: Kingsholm Stadium

GLOUCESTER RUGBY

  • 15. Jason Woodward, 
  • 14. Tom Marshall, 
  • 13. Chris Harris, 
  • 12. Mark Atkinson, 
  • 11. Ollie Thorley, 
  • 10. Danny Cipriani, 
  • 9. Joe Simpson, 
  • 1. Val Rapava Ruskin , 
  • 2. Franco Marais, 
  • 3. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 
  • 4. Freddie Clarke, 
  • 5. Gerbrandt Grobler, 
  • 6. Ruan Ackermann, 
  • 7. Lewis Ludlow, 
  • 8. Ben Morgan (c).

Replacements:

  • 16. Corné Fourie, 
  • 17. Josh Hohneck, 
  • 18. Fraser Balmain, 
  • 19. Alex Craig, 
  • 20. Jake Polledri, 
  • 21. Callum Braley, 
  • 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 
  • 23. Matt Banahan,

TOULOUSE

  • 15. Thomas Ramos, 
  • 14. Yoann Huget, 
  • 13. Sofiane Guitoune, 
  • 12. Romain Ntamack, 
  • 11. Maxime Médard, 
  • 10. Zack Holmes, 
  • 9. Sébastien Bézy, 
  • 1. Cyril Baille, 
  • 2. Julien Marchand (c), 
  • 3. Charlie Faumuina, 
  • 4. Florian Verhaeghe, 
  • 5. Joe Tekori, 
  • 6. Francois Cros, 
  • 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 
  • 8. Jerome Kaino.

Replacements:

  • 16. Peato Mauvaka, 
  • 17. Clément Castets, 
  • 18. Dorian Aldegheri, 
  • 19. Richie Gray, 
  • 20. Selevasio Tolofua, 
  • 21. Alban Placines, 
  • 22. Pierre Pages, 
  • 23. Lucas Tauzin,

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

AR1: Gwyn Morris (Wales)

AR2: Wayne Davies (Wales)

TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)

Broadcasters: BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Prediction – Toulouse to win by 7.

Bath Rugby v Ulster Rugby

Date: Sat 16 November 2019 KO: 13:00 

Venue: Recreation Ground

BATH RUGBY

  • 15. Freddie Burns, 
  • 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 
  • 13. Jonathan Joseph, 
  • 12. Jamie Roberts, 
  • 11. Ruaridh McConnochie, 
  • 10. Rhys Priestland, 
  • 9. Will Chudley, 
  • 1. Beno Obano , 
  • 2. Tom Dunn, 
  • 3. Will Stuart, 
  • 4. Josh McNally, 
  • 5. Charlie Ewels (c), 
  • 6. Mike Williams, 
  • 7. Sam Underhill, 
  • 8. Zach Mercer.

Replacements:

  • 16. Jack Walker , 
  • 17. Lewis Boyce, 
  • 18. Christian Judge, 
  • 19. Elliott Stooke, 
  • 20. Josh Bayliss, 
  • 21. Chris Cook, 
  • 22. Max Wright, 
  • 23. Gabe Hamer-Webb,

ULSTER RUGBY

  • 15. Will Addison, 
  • 14. Rob Lyttle, 
  • 13. Luke Marshall, 
  • 12. Stuart McCloskey, 
  • 11. Jacob Stockdale, 
  • 10. Billy Burns, 
  • 9. John Cooney, 
  • 1. Jack McGrath, 
  • 2. Rob Herring, 
  • 3. Marty Moore, 
  • 4. Iain Henderson (c), 
  • 5. Sam Carter, 
  • 6. Matt Rea, 
  • 7. Jordi Murphy, 
  • 8. Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements:

  • 16. Adam McBurney, 
  • 17. Eric O’Sullivan, 
  • 18. Tom O’Toole, 
  • 19. Alan O’Connor, 
  • 20. Sean Reidy, 
  • 21. David Shanahan, 
  • 22. Angus Curtis, 
  • 23. Louis Ludik,

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

AR1: Manuel Bottino (Italy)

AR2: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

Broadcasters: C4 / Virgin Media / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Prediction – Ulster to win by 9

Glasgow Warriors v Sale Sharks

Date: Sat 16 November 2019 KO: 13:00 

Venue: Scotstoun Stadium

GLASGOW WARRIORS

  • 15. Tommy Seymour, 
  • 14. Ratu Tagive, 
  • 13. Nick Grigg, 
  • 12. Samuel Johnson, 
  • 11. DTH van der Merwe, 
  • 10. Adam Hastings, 
  • 9. George Horne, 
  • 1. Oli Kebble, 
  • 2. Fraser Brown, 
  • 3. Zander Fagerson, 
  • 4. Robert Harley, 
  • 5. Scott Cummings, 
  • 6. Ryan Wilson, 
  • 7. Callum Gibbins (c), 
  • 8. Matt Fagerson.

Replacements:

  • 16. George Turner, 
  • 17. Alex Allan, 
  • 18. D’Arcy Rae, 
  • 19. Tim Swinson, 
  • 20. Chris Fusaro, 
  • 21. Ali Price, 
  • 22. Peter Horne, 
  • 23. Kyle Steyn,

SALE SHARKS

  • 15. Simon Hammersley, 
  • 14. Marland Yarde, 
  • 13. Cameron Redpath, 
  • 12. Luke James, 
  • 11. Byron McGuigan, 
  • 10. AJ MacGinty, 
  • 9. Embrose Papier, 
  • 1. Ross Harrison, 
  • 2. Rob Webber, 
  • 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 
  • 4. Bryn Evans (c), 
  • 5. James Phillips, 
  • 6. Jean-Luc du Preez, 
  • 7. Ben Curry, 
  • 8. Dan du Preez.

Replacements:

  • 16. Akker van der Merwe, 
  • 17. Valery Morozov, 
  • 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 
  • 19. Matthew Postlewhaite, 
  • 20. Jono Ross, 
  • 21. Will Cliff, 
  • 22. Robert du Preez, 
  • 23. Chris Ashton,

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)

AR1: Adrien Descottes (France)

AR2: Cedric Marchat (France)

TMO: Patrick Dellac (France)

Broadcasters: BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Prediction – Glasgow by 11

Leinster Rugby v Benetton Rugby

Date: Sat 16 November 2019 KO: 15:15 

Venue: RDS Arena

LEINSTER RUGBY

  • 15. Jordan Larmour, 
  • 14. Dave Kearney, 
  • 13. Garry Ringrose, 
  • 12. Joe Tomane, 
  • 11. James Lowe, 
  • 10. Johnny Sexton (c), 
  • 9. Luke McGrath, 
  • 1. Cian Healy, 
  • 2. Ronan Kelleher, 
  • 3. Andrew Porter, 
  • 4. Devin Toner, 
  • 5. James Ryan, 
  • 6. Rhys Ruddock, 
  • 7. Josh van der Flier, 
  • 8. Caelan Doris.

Replacements:

  • 16. James Tracy, 
  • 17. Peter Dooley, 
  • 18. Michael Bent, 
  • 19. Scott Fardy, 
  • 20. Max Deegan, 
  • 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, 
  • 22. Ross Byrne, 
  • 23. Rory O’Loughlin,

BENETTON RUGBY

  • 15. Jayden Hayward, 
  • 14. Angelo Esposito, 
  • 13. Nacho Brex, 
  • 12. Alberto Sgarbi (c), 
  • 11. Luca Sperandio, 
  • 10. Ian Keatley, 
  • 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 
  • 1. Nicola Quaglio, 
  • 2. Hame Faiva, 
  • 3. Marco Riccioni, 
  • 4. Ira Herbst, 
  • 5. Dean Budd, 
  • 6. Giovanni Pettinelli, 
  • 7. Braam Steyn, 
  • 8. Nasi Manu.

Replacements:

  • 16. Engjel Makelara, 
  • 17. Federico Zani, 
  • 18. Tiziano Pasquali, 
  • 19. Marco Fuser, 
  • 20. Marco Lazzaroni, 
  • 21. Toa Halafihi, 
  • 22. Tito Tebaldi, 
  • 23. Tommy Allan,

Referee: Pierre Brousset (France)

AR1: Tual Trainini (France)

AR2: Laurent Cardona (France)

TMO: Eric Briquet-Campin (France)

Broadcasters: BT Sport / beIN SPORTS / DAZN

Prediction – Leinster by 23

La Rochelle v Exeter Chiefs

Date: Sat 16 November 2019 KO: 16:15 

Venue: Stade Marcel Deflandre

LA ROCHELLE

  • 15. Jérémy Sinzelle, 
  • 14. Vincent Rattez, 
  • 13. Geoffrey Doumayrou, 
  • 12. Levani Botia, 
  • 11. Arthur Retiere, 
  • 10. Ihaia West, 
  • 9. Alexi Bales, 
  • 1. Dany Priso, 
  • 2. Pierre Bourgarit, 
  • 3. Arthur Joly, 
  • 4. Romain Sazy, 
  • 5. Mathieu Tanguy, 
  • 6. Grégory Alldritt, 
  • 7. Wiaan Liebenberg, 
  • 8. Victor Vito (c).

Replacements:

  • 16. Facundo Bosch, 
  • 17. Reda Wardi, 
  • 18. Sila Puafisi, 
  • 19. Lopeti Timani, 
  • 20. Kevin Gourdon, 
  • 21. Brock James, 
  • 22. Marc Andreu, 
  • 23. Kini Murimurivalu,

EXETER CHIEFS

  • 15. Stuart Hogg, 
  • 14. Tom O’Flaherty, 
  • 13. Henry Slade, 
  • 12. Ian Whitten, 
  • 11. Alex Cuthbert, 
  • 10. Joe Simmonds, 
  • 9. Nic White, 
  • 1. Alec Hepburn, 
  • 2. Jack Yeandle (c), 
  • 3. Harry Williams, 
  • 4. Dave Dennis, 
  • 5. Jonny Hill, 
  • 6. Dave Ewers, 
  • 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 
  • 8. Sam Simmonds.

Replacements:

  • 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 
  • 17. Ben Moon, 
  • 18. Marcus Street, 
  • 19. Jannes Kirsten, 
  • 20. Don Armand, 
  • 21. Jack Maunder, 
  • 22. Gareth Steenson, 
  • 23. Jack Nowell,

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

AR1: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)

AR2: Dave Sutherland (Scotland)

TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Broadcasters: beIN SPORTS / FR2 / BT Sport

Prediction – La Rochelle by 2

Ospreys v Munster Rugby

Date: Sat 16 November 2019 KO: 17:30 

Venue: Liberty Stadium

OSPREYS

  • 15. Cai Evans, 
  • 14. Hanno Dirksen, 
  • 13. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 
  • 12. Scott Williams, 
  • 11. Tom Williams, 
  • 10. Luke Price, 
  • 9. Shaun Venter, 
  • 1. Rhodri Jones, 
  • 2. Scott Otten, 
  • 3. Ma’afu Fia , 
  • 4. Marvin Orie, 
  • 5. Lloyd Ashley, 
  • 6. Dan Lydiate (c), 
  • 7. Olly Cracknell, 
  • 8. Morgan Morris.

Replacements:

  • 16. Ifan Phillips, 
  • 17. Nicky Smith, 
  • 18. Gheorghe Gajion, 
  • 19. Bradley Davies, 
  • 20. Sam Cross, 
  • 21. Aled Davies, 
  • 22. James Hook, 
  • 23. Kieran Williams,

MUNSTER RUGBY

  • 15. Mike Haley, 
  • 14. Andrew Conway, 
  • 13. Chris Farrell, 
  • 12. Rory Scannell, 
  • 11. Keith Earls, 
  • 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 
  • 9. Conor Murray, 
  • 1. Jeremy Loughman, 
  • 2. Niall Scannell, 
  • 3. John Ryan, 
  • 4. Jean Kleyn, 
  • 5. Billy Holland, 
  • 6. Peter O’Mahony (c), 
  • 7. Tommy O’Donnell, 
  • 8. CJ Stander.

Replacements:

  • 16. Kevin O’Byrne, 
  • 17. James Cronin, 
  • 18. Stephen Archer, 
  • 19. Tadhg Beirne, 
  • 20. Arno Botha, 
  • 21. Alby Mathewson, 
  • 22. Sam Arnold, 
  • 23. Dan Goggin,

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)

AR1: Ian Tempest (England)

AR2: Paul Dix (England)

TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)

Broadcasters: BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Prediction – Munster by 27

ASM Clermont Auvergne v Harlequins

Date: Sat 16 November 2019 KO: 18:30 

Venue: Stade Marcel-Michelin

ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE

  • 15. Nick Abendanon, 
  • 14. Peter Betham, 
  • 13. Isaiah Toeava, 
  • 12. George Moala, 
  • 11. Alivereti Raka, 
  • 10. Camille Lopez, 
  • 9. Morgan Parra (c), 
  • 1. Etienne Falgoux, 
  • 2. John Ulugia, 
  • 3. Rabah Slimani, 
  • 4. Paul Jedrasiak, 
  • 5. Sitaleki Timani, 
  • 6. Peceli Yato, 
  • 7. Alexandre Fischer, 
  • 8. Fritz Lee.

Replacements:

  • 16. Mike Tadjer, 
  • 17. Loni Uhila, 
  • 18. Davit Zirakashvili, 
  • 19. Thibault Lanen, 
  • 20. Clement Lanen, 
  • 21. Greig Laidlaw, 
  • 22. Jake McIntyre, 
  • 23. Apisai Naqalevu,

HARLEQUINS

  • 15. Mike Brown, 
  • 14. Cadan Murley, 
  • 13. James Lang, 
  • 12. Francis Saili, 
  • 11. Gabriel Ibitoye, 
  • 10. Marcus Smith, 
  • 9. Danny Care, 
  • 1. Santiago Garcia Botta, 
  • 2. Scott Baldwin, 
  • 3. Simon Kerrod, 
  • 4. Glen Young, 
  • 5. Matt Symons, 
  • 6. Chris Robshaw (c), 
  • 7. Will Evans, 
  • 8. Tom Lawday.

Replacements:

  • 16. Elia Elia, 
  • 17. Mark Lambert, 
  • 18. Phil Swainston, 
  • 19. Tex Cavubati , 
  • 20. Renaldo Bothma, 
  • 21. Martin Landajo, 
  • 22. Michele Campagnaro, 
  • 23. Ross Chisholm,

Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)

AR1: Mike English (Wales)

AR2: Gareth Newman (Wales)

TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

Broadcasters: beIN SPORTS / BT Sport

Prediction – Clermont by 17

Connacht Rugby v Montpellier

Date: Sun 17 November 2019 KO: 13:00 

Venue: The Sportsground

CONNACHT RUGBY

  • 15. Darragh Leader, 
  • 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 
  • 13. Kyle Godwin, 
  • 12. Bundee Aki, 
  • 11. Matt Healy, 
  • 10. Jack Carty, 
  • 9. Caolin Blade, 
  • 1. Denis Buckley, 
  • 2. Tom McCartney, 
  • 3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 
  • 4. Cillian Gallagher, 
  • 5. Ultan Dillane, 
  • 6. Colby Fainga’a, 
  • 7. Jarrad Butler (c), 
  • 8. Paul Boyle.

Replacements:

  • 16. David Heffernan, 
  • 17. Matthew Burke, 
  • 18. Conor Kenny, 
  • 19. Eoghan Masterson, 
  • 20. Robin Copeland, 
  • 21. Stephen Kerins, 
  • 22. Tom Daly, 
  • 23. John Porch,

MONTPELLIER

  • 15. Anthony Bouthier, 
  • 14. Gabriel N’gandebe, 
  • 13. Arthur Vincent, 
  • 12. Jan Serfontein, 
  • 11. Yvan Reilhac, 
  • 10. Aaron Cruden, 
  • 9. Benoit Paillaugue (c), 
  • 1. Mikheil Nariashvili, 
  • 2. Youri Delhommel, 
  • 3. Mohamed Haouas, 
  • 4. Nico Janse van Rensburg, 
  • 5. Paul Willemse, 
  • 6. Kelian Galletier, 
  • 7. Yacouba Camara, 
  • 8. Caleb Timu.

Replacements:

  • 16. Bismarck Du Plessis, 
  • 17. Grégory Fichten, 
  • 18. Jannie Du Plessis, 
  • 19. Fulgence Ouedraogo, 
  • 20. Enzo Sanga, 
  • 21. Julien Bardy, 
  • 22. Henry Immelman, 
  • 23. Jacques Du Plessis,

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

AR1: Hamish Smales (England)

AR2: Simon McConnell (England)

TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Broadcasters: BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Prediction – Connacht by 5

Northampton Saints v Lyon

Date: Sun 17 November 2019 KO: 13:00 

Venue: Franklin’s Gardens

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS

  • 15. George Furbank, 
  • 14. Tom Collins, 
  • 13. Rory Hutchinson, 
  • 12. Piers Francis, 
  • 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro, 
  • 10. Dan Biggar, 
  • 9. Cobus Reinach, 
  • 1. Alex Waller (c), 
  • 2. Mikey Haywood, 
  • 3. Ehren Painter, 
  • 4. David Ribbans, 
  • 5. Courtney Lawes, 
  • 6. Tom Wood, 
  • 7. Lewis Ludlam, 
  • 8. Teimana Harrison.

Replacements:

  • 16. James Fish, 
  • 17. Francois van Wyk, 
  • 18. Owen Franks, 
  • 19. Api Ratuniyarawa, 
  • 20. Jamie Gibson, 
  • 21. James Mitchell, 
  • 22. Matt Proctor, 
  • 23. Ahsee Tuala,

LYON

  • 15. Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 
  • 14. Josua Tuisova, 
  • 13. Pierre-Louis Barassi, 
  • 12. Charlie Ngatai, 
  • 11. Noa Nakaitaci, 
  • 10. Pato Fernandez, 
  • 9. Jonathan Pélissié (c), 
  • 1. Raphael Chaume, 
  • 2. Jeremie Maurouard, 
  • 3. Clément Ric, 
  • 4. Killian Geraci, 
  • 5. Loann Goujon, 
  • 6. Liam Gill, 
  • 7. Patrick Sobela, 
  • 8. Carl Fearns.

Replacements:

  • 16. Mickael Ivaldi, 
  • 17. Hamza Kaabèche, 
  • 18. Demba Bamba, 
  • 19. Hendrik Roodt, 
  • 20. Virgile Bruni, 
  • 21. Baptiste Couilloud, 
  • 22. Jonathan Wisniewski, 
  • 23. Thibaut Regard,

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

AR1: George Clancy (Ireland)

AR2: Robert O’Sullivan (Ireland)

TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Broadcasters: BT Sport / beIN SPORTS

Prediction – Lyon by 4

Racing 92 v Saracens

Date: Sun 17 November 2019 KO: 16:15 

Venue: Paris La Defense Arena

RACING 92

  • 15. Brice Dulin, 
  • 14. Teddy Thomas, 
  • 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 
  • 12. Henry Chavancy (c), 
  • 11. Juan Imhoff, 
  • 10. Finn Russell, 
  • 9. Maxime Machenaud, 
  • 1. Eddy Ben Arous, 
  • 2. Camille Chat, 
  • 3. Cedate Gomes Sa, 
  • 4. Donnacha Ryan, 
  • 5. Boris Palu, 
  • 6. Wenceslas Lauret, 
  • 7. Baptiste Chouzenoux, 
  • 8. Antonie Claassen.

Replacements:

  • 16. Teddy Baubigny, 
  • 17. Hassane Kolingar, 
  • 18. Ali Oz, 
  • 19. Dominic Bird, 
  • 20. Yoan Tanga, 
  • 21. Teddy Iribaren, 
  • 22. Ben Volavola, 
  • 23. Simon Zebo,

SARACENS

  • 15. Matt Gallagher, 
  • 14. Sean Maitland, 
  • 13. Alex Lozowski, 
  • 12. Nick Tompkins, 
  • 11. Roti Segun, 
  • 10. Manu Vunipola, 
  • 9. Ben Spencer, 
  • 1. Rhys Carre, 
  • 2. Jack Singleton , 
  • 3. Titi Lamositele, 
  • 4. Will Skelton, 
  • 5. Callum Hunter-Hill, 
  • 6. Nick Isiekwe, 
  • 7. Ben Earl, 
  • 8. Jackson Wray (c).

Replacements:

  • 16. Joe Gray, 
  • 17. Sam Crean, 
  • 18. Vincent Koch, 
  • 19. Joel Kpoku, 
  • 20. Sean Reffell, 
  • 21. Tom Whiteley, 
  • 22. Damian Willemse, 
  • 23. Duncan Taylor,

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

AR1: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland)

AR2: Paul Haycock (Ireland)

TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Broadcasters: FR2 / beIN SPORTS / BT Sport

Prediction – Racing by 10

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Champions Cup

Big names miss out for Ulster

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster match-day squad to face Gloucester tomorrow afternoon in Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup has been named (Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm).  

The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.  

The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.

John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.    

Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:  

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney; 

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

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

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Champions Cup

Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the province’s opening Pool game of the 2020-21 Heineken Champions Cup against Toulouse on Friday (kick-off 8pm, Kingspan Stadium). 

In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half. 

Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight. 

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench. 

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

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Champions Cup

Heineken Champions Cup Pool Draw for 2020/21

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The holders, Exeter Chiefs, will play against Toulouse and Glasgow Warriors in the pool stage of the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup following the tournament Pool Draw which was held on Wednesday 28 October at the Maison du Sport International in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Exeter, who lifted the trophy for the first time after a dramatic 25th anniversary final earlier this month, were drawn into Pool B and will meet the four-time tournament winners and Glasgow over four pool stage rounds on a home and away basis.

Under the new format for the 2020/21 season featuring two pools of 12 clubs, reigning Guinness PRO14 champions, Leinster Rugby, will have Montpellier and Northampton Saints as their opponents in Pool A when the tournament kicks off again in December, while last season’s runners-up, Racing 92, are in Pool B where they will be up against Connacht Rugby and Harlequins.

Wasps, who were edged out by the Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership final, will meet Dragons and Montpellier in Pool A, and PRO14 finalists, Ulster Rugby, will take on Gloucester Rugby and Toulouse in Pool B.

Munster Rugby will renew their European rivalry with ASM Clermont Auvergne and Harlequins in Pool B, while Bristol Bears’ Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, will make a return to Galway when the Challenge Cup winners go up against Connacht and Clermont also in Pool B.

For the purposes of the draw, the 24 clubs which qualified from the Premiership, the PRO14 and the TOP 14 were classified into four tiers based on their performances in the knockout phases of their respective leagues, and/or on their qualifying positions in their respective league tables.

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 not 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 and the Challenge Cup preliminary stage fixtures, including venues, kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as possible following consultation with clubs and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.

The four highest-ranked clubs from each Heineken Champions Cup pool will qualify for the quarter-finals which will be played over two legs, and the clubs ranked from number five to number eight in each pool will qualify for the Round of 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Today’s draw, which mapped out the first steps on the journey to the 2021 Marseille finals weekend, was conducted by EPCR Chief Executive, Vincent Gaillard, and by EPCR Commercial and Brand Manager, Anya Alderslade.

The event scrutineer was Lausanne-based solicitor, Jean-Guillaume Amiguet.

2020/21 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

POOL A (with opponents in brackets)
Bordeaux-Bègles (Dragons, Northampton Saints)
Leinster Rugby (Montpellier, Northampton Saints)
Wasps (Dragons, Montpellier)
Bath Rugby (La Rochelle, Scarlets)
Edinburgh Rugby (La Rochelle, Sale Sharks)
RC Toulon (Sale Sharks, Scarlets)
La Rochelle (Bath Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby)
Sale Sharks (Edinburgh Rugby, RC Toulon)
Scarlets (Bath Rugby, RC Toulon)
Dragons (Bordeaux-Bègles, Wasps)
Montpellier (Leinster Rugby, Wasps)
Northampton Saints (Bordeaux-Bègles, Leinster Rugby)

POOL B (with opponents in brackets)
Exeter Chiefs (Glasgow Warriors, Toulouse)
Lyon (Glasgow Warriors, Gloucester Rugby)
Ulster Rugby (Gloucester Rugby, Toulouse)
Bristol Bears (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Connacht Rugby)
Munster Rugby (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Harlequins)
Racing 92 (Connacht Rugby, Harlequins)
ASM Clermont Auvergne (Bristol Bears, Munster Rugby)
Connacht Rugby (Bristol Bears, Racing 92)
Harlequins (Munster Rugby, Racing 92)
Glasgow Warriors (Exeter Chiefs, Lyon)
Gloucester Rugby (Lyon, Ulster)
Toulouse (Exeter Chiefs, Ulster Rugby)

2020/21 season weekends
Round 1 – 11/12/13 December 2020
Round 2 – 18/19/20 December 2020
Round 3 – 15/16/17 January 2021
Round 4 – 22/23/24 January 2021

Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 1st leg – 2/3/4 April 2021
Challenge Cup Round of 16 – 2/3/4 April 2021
Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 2nd leg – 9/10/11 April 2021
Challenge Cup quarter-finals – 9/10/11 April 2021
Semi-finals – 30 April – 1/2 May 2021
2021 finals – Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Challenge Cup final – Friday 21 May
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 22 May

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