Connect with us

Champions Cup

Champion’s Cup Semi-Finalists – Power Ranking

How we rank them.



Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

One of the most dramatic weekends of European rugby in recent memory has set up some very tasty Champion’s Cup semi-finals. Munster got the job done in Edinburgh, to set up a meeting with Saracens, who demolished Glasgow. Leinster saw off the challenge of Ulster in an absolute cracker in the Aviva, to book their spot against Toulouse, after the French club pulled off a dramatic one point win away to Racing. After such thrilling rugby this weekend which team is looking the hottest?

  1. Saracens

Sarries are just looking so good right now. Putting 56 points on a team as good as Glasgow is no mean feat, and they managed this without their most important player Owen Farrell. Saracens were the only club to win all of their pool games, and just have depth and danger all over the park. Liam Williams has been one of the best in the world in his position for the past two or three years and people have been calling for Alex Goode to be playing for England for as long. He showed his versatility this weekend by taking over at 10 when Owen Farrell got called away to the maternity ward, running plays like a guy who plays 10 week in week out. Saracens have X-factor all over the park, and are going to take some stopping.

Embed from Getty Images

     2. Leinster

The champions were run close this weekend by Ulster, but are still a dangerous proposition. Perhaps not quite on the same level as they were last year, Leo Cullen’s charges have a more difficult task ahead of them this year, as they welcome a Toulouse side in flying form to the Aviva. Leinster’s backline depth has been criticised recently, with some people saying that their “stand-ins” (the likes of Dave Kearney, Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin) are not up to scratch for top tier European rugby. Of course reading this you think back to Leinster’s pool game against Toulouse in the RDS, where all these “stand-ins” played and Leinster won comfortably. A fairly safe bet for the final, with a full compliment.

Embed from Getty Images

3.      Toulouse

Toulouse are back big time this season. Beat the champions in their first pool game, and defeated Racing in a thriller in the U Arena at the weekend after losing Zach Holmes for a high tackle in the first half. The French giants are flying in the Top 14 this year, they are ten points clear at the top of the table with only two losses from 20 games. They will not fear coming to Dublin, but you would think home advantage will play a big part for Leinster.

Embed from Getty Images

4. Munster

Munster are up against it, to put it simply. They will be travelling to the Ricoh Arena to take on Saracens. Munster last played Sarries in the Aviva in 2017, at the same stage of the competition, losing 26-10. It is hard to see Munster coming away with the win here but Munster have a habit of pulling off wins when you don’t expect. Munster are in great form, but Saracens just look unbeatable these days

Embed from Getty Images

Champions Cup

Sio poised for Exeter debut



Australia prop Scott Sio is set to start for his Exeter Chiefs debut as the 2020 Heineken Champions Cup winners visit Gloucester Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership on Friday night.

The 31-year-old, who could get his first taste of EPCR competition when Exeter travel to Castres Olympique in their Heineken Champions Cup Pool A opener on December 10, comes in as one of five changes to the side that started last Saturday’s 22-20 defeat to Saracens.

Captain Jack Yeandle comes in at hooker, with flanker Lewis Pearson the other change in the pack, while fit-again wing Josh Hodge is handed a start along with centre Rory O’Loughlin.

Gloucester, who welcome Union Bordeaux-Bègles in their first Heineken Champions Cup Pool A fixture, also on December 10, have made four alterations to the starting XV for their 22-21 win at London Irish a week ago.

Prop Harry Elrington and lock Cam Jordan are brought in, with Ben Morgan starting at No.8 as Ruan Ackermann shifts to blindside flanker. Lloyd Evans is also called up at full-back, with Santiago Carreras switching to the wing.

Leinster Rugby are the other Heineken Champions Cup side in action on Friday as they make the trip to Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship.

The Irish province are much-changed from their 27-13 victory over Munster Rugby last Saturday, with flanker Scott Penny the only player to retain his place.

Centre Charlie Ngatai, fly-half Ross Byrne, prop Ed Byrne and lock Ross Molony are all involved for last season’s Heineken Champions Cup runners-up, while Tadgh McElroy, Charlie Tector and Ben Brownlee are all potential debutants from the bench.

Content & Images from – EPC Rugby

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

Racing 92 v Leinster set for Le Havre



The EPCR have this morning confirmed the full 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixture dates, kick-off times, venues and TV coverage, including the venue for the December clash between Leinster Rugby and Racing 92 in France.

EPCR had already confirmed this week that BT Sport, as well as RTÉ, ITV and S4C, have all agreed multi-year partnerships for the new broadcast cycle in Ireland and the UK.

BT Sport, who have been a partner since 2015, have recommitted as lead broadcaster in Ireland and the UK until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.

In addition, RTÉ, has come on board in Ireland to provide free-to-air coverage.

RTÉ has already confirmed that it will broadcast both Leinster Rugby home games in the pool stages of the 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup on free-to-air on RTÉ2 television and on RTÉ Player.

The agreements with RTÉ and ITV, which will see each broadcaster cover one Heineken Champions Cup match per round in Ireland and in the UK – including the Final – on a free-to-air basis, also run until the end of the 2023/24 season.

Click HERE for the full 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures.

Leinster Rugby will start their campaign on Saturday, 10 December against three-time finalists, Racing 92, in Pool A and that game will be broadcast on BT Sport. The game will be played at the 25,000-capacity Stade Océane in Le Havre.

On Friday, 16 December 2022, at 8pm, Leinster Rugby will host Gloucester Rugby at the RDS Arena for the Round 2, Pool A encounter (live on RTÉ TV).

After the Christmas break, on Saturday 14 January 2023, it’s the return leg, as Leinster visit Kingsholm Stadium to take on Gloucester with a 1pm kick-off (live on ITV).

On the following Saturday, the final game of the pool stages sees Leinster welcome Racing 92 to Aviva Stadium with a 3.15pm start (live on RTÉ).

Ticketing information will be emailed to season ticket holders in the first instance with public sale thereafter.

2022/23 key dates

Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022
Round 2 – 16/17/18 December 2022
Round 3 – 13/14/15 January 2023
Round 4 – 20/21/22 January 2023

Round of 16 – 31 March – 1/2 April 2023

Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April 2023

Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April 2023

EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 19 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 20 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Images & Content from Leinster Rugby

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

RTÉ To Broadcast Munster Home Champions Cup Fixtures



RTÉ have today confirmed fixture details for both of Munster’s home Heineken Champions Cup Pool fixtures against Toulouse and Northampton Saints.

See home fixture details below with details yet to be confirmed for our away games.

Ticket details will be released shortly.

Heineken Champions Cup Fixtures

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Round 1: Munster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Thomond Park, 3.15pm;

December 16/17/18, 2023

Round 2: Northampton Saints v Munster Rugby, TBC;

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Round 3: Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 3.15pm;

January 20/21/22, 2023

Round 4: Stade Toulousain v Munster Rugby, TBC;

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

Continue Reading