The EPCR European Player of the Year nominations for 2020 have been announced, with 15 players being shortlisted from the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
Among the 15 players three teams have three nominations each with last season’s Champions Cup runners-up Leinster seeing Garry Ringrose, Jordan Larmour and Tadhg Furlong nominated. While Exeter Chiefs have Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Stuart Hogg among the shortlist.
Racing 92 are the only other team to have three nominees being represented by Finn Russell, Virimi Vakatawa and Teddy Thomas.
Ulster and Toulouse have picked up two nominations each with the Irish province having John Cooney and Marcell Coetzee on list, while Jerome Kaino and Romain Ntamack are included from the French giants.
Clermont Auvergne centre George Moala is the final player on the list from the Champions Cup, while the only player from the Challenge Cup to be considered is Bordeaux-Begles Flying-Fijian Semi Radradra.
Last season’s Champions Cup winners Saracens have had no players nominated, however, there is still a chance that players could be drafted into the nominations should they make a significant impact during the knockout-stages of the competition.
The initial list of 15-players will be reduced to just five come the conclusion of the semi-final stage of the tournaments, with public voting and a judges vote combining to determine the results.
Among the panel of judges this year are former Ireland stars Brian O’Driscoll and Alan Quinlan, along with the likes of Dimitri Yachvili, Bryan Habana and Erik Bonneval.
The overall winner of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy will be announced following the conclusion of this year’s Champions Cup final at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Saturday the 23rd of May.
Check Out the Full 15-Man Shortlist Below.
Marcell COETZEE (Ulster Rugby)
John COONEY (Ulster Rugby)
Luke COWAN-DICKIE (Exeter Chiefs)
Tadhg FURLONG (Leinster Rugby)
Stuart HOGG (Exeter Chiefs)
Jerome KAINO (Toulouse)
Jordan LARMOUR (Leinster Rugby)
George MOALA (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Romain NTAMACK (Toulouse)
Semi RADRADRA (Bordeaux-Bègles)
Garry RINGROSE (Leinster Rugby)
Finn RUSSELL (Racing 92)
Sam SIMMONDS (Exeter Chiefs)
Teddy THOMAS (Racing 92)
Virimi VAKATAWA (Racing 92)
Fixtures 2021/22 Season
SATURDAY 14 AUGUST
South Africa v Argentina (4.05pm, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth)
SATURDAY 21 AUGUST
Argentina v South Africa (4.05pm, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth)
WEDNESDAY 25 AUGUST
Rugby World Cup 2021 Repechage Qualifier
Kenya v Colombia (Nairobi)
SATURDAY 28 AUGUST
Australia v New Zealand (11am, Optus Stadium, Perth)
SATURDAY 4 SEPTEMBER
RWC 2023 Qualifying
Canada v USA (Swilers RFC, St John’s)
SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER
RWC 2023 Qualifier
USA v Canada (Infinity Park, Glendale)
New Zealand v Argentina (8.05am, Eden Park)
SUNDAY 12 SEPTEMBER
South Africa v Australia (6am, Sydney Cricket Ground)
FRIDAY 17 SEPTEMBER
Bristol v Saracens (7.45pm) Live on BT Sport
SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER
Argentina v New Zealand (8.05am, Sky Stadium)
Australia v South Africa (6am, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Leicester v Exeter (3pm) Live on BT Sport
Northampton v Gloucester (3pm)
Sale v Bath (3pm)
Worcester v London Irish (3pm)
SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER
Newcastle v Harlequins (3pm) Live on BT Sport
FRIDAY 24 SEPTEMBER
Gloucester v Leicester (7.45pm) Live on BT Sport
SATURDAY 25 SEPTEMBER
New Zealand v South Africa (8.05am, Forsyth Barr Stadium)
Australia v Argentina (5am, Newcastle)
Bath v Newcastle (3pm)
Exeter v Northampton (3pm)
Harlequins v Worcester (3pm)
Wasps v Bristol (3pm) Live on BT Sport
SUNDAY 26 SEPTEMBER
London Irish v Sale (3pm) Live on BT Sport
FRIDAY 1 OCTOBER
Bristol v Bath (7.45pm) Live on BT Sport
SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER
South Africa v New Zealand (8.05am, Eden Park)
Australia v Argentina (5am, GIO Stadium, Canberra)
Northampton v London Irish (2pm)
Leicester v Saracens (3pm) Live on BT Sport
Newcastle v Wasps (3pm)
Worcester v Gloucester (3pm)
SUNDAY 3 OCTOBER
Sale v Exeter (3pm) Live on BT Sport
More fixtures to follow.
Heineken Champions Cup pool draw for 2021/22
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)
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
Leicester Tigers’ Challenge Cup Final line-up named
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.”
📋 𝐓𝐄𝐀𝐌 𝐍𝐄𝐖𝐒
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) May 20, 2021
𝗟𝗮 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗼 𝗱𝗲𝘀 𝗖𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝘀 🔵🟠 ⚡️
— Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) May 20, 2021
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