Here’s Who’s Set To Be In Munster, Leinster, Ulster & Connacht’s Pools For The Champions Cup
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Munster Rugby could be set to come up against two of their former players in the Champions Cup this season with the Irish province in line to face Jerry Flannery’s Harlequins and Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle.
The tournament will feature 24 teams this year due to a reshuffling as a result of the pandemic, split into two groups of 12 teams, with all four provinces qualifying from the PRO14.
As no teams from the same league can meet each other in the pool stages, each of the Irish provinces will play one team a piece from the Top 14 and Premiership, at home and away, totalling four rounds of games.
This will be followed by the knockout stages which will involve two-legged quarter-finals followed by the semi-finals and of course the final.
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Episode 8 has arrived – a full day early this week featuring Eddie Jones, Jamie Heaslip, Ronan Kelleher and Felipe Contepomi. 🎙 – Jason & Jamie Heaslip look back on the Irish provinces in the PRO14 over the weekend and look forward to the next round. ☘️ – Munster's last-minute heroics, a tough game for Ulster, the Bundee Aki show and business as usual for Leinster. 🏉 – Felipe Contepomi on Johnny Sexton's injury, the tighthead situation with Porter/Furlong and if the PRO14 is adequate preparation. 🤔 – Ronan Kelleher on his Ireland ambitions and finally playing an away game. ✈️ – The absolutely crazy fiasco with Sale Sharks in the English Premiership. 🤯 – Eddie Jons on rugby's financial problems, Manu Tuilagi's injury and adapting to the new breakdown interpretations. 🏴 Available now wherever you get your podcasts. 🎧
The eight teams from the PRO14, Top 14 and Premiership who have qualified for the 2020-21 tournament are now known with Sales’ postponed game with Worcester now officially called off.
At the end of the month, these teams will then be divided into four tiers and drawn into the two pools of 12. Tier 1 teams only play Tier 4 teams in the same pool, and likewise, Tier 2 teams only play Tier 3 teams in the same pool.
Leinster and Ulster are in Tier 1 having reached the final of the PRO14 with Munster in Tier 2 and Connacht in Tier 3.
Here are the permutations for each province:
Nice and clear-cut here, we just need to wait for the draw at the end of the month.
Leinster will face either Toulouse or Montpellier, along with Gloucester or Northampton home and away as both of these teams finished seventh and eighth respectively in their leagues.
Nice and easy here again. With Ulster in Tier 1, they will face two from the same quartet Leinster can be drawn with. So if Leinster draw Toulouse and Northampton, Ulster get Montpellier and Gloucester for example.
Things are nice and simple for Munster too. They’re in Tier 2 along with Edinburgh. La Rochelle and Clermont finished fifth and sixth respectively with Sale and Harlequins finishing in fifth and sixth respectively in the Premiership.
So Munster will face one of those two from each league both home and away with Edinburgh getting the others.
This is where things get tricky.
From the Top 14 as things stand, Connacht will get Racing 92 or Toulon but Lyon could replace Racing if the Parisian side beat Exeter in the 2020 Champions Cup final on Saturday week.
In terms of the Premiership teams, they can face that all depends on the finals series. So they could be drawn against Wasps, Exeter, Bath or Bristol.
Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see how things pan out with some really interesting match-ups on the cards.