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Europe’s heavyweights to negotiate a new knockout format

There’s a new look to rugby union’s premier European competitions on BT Sport this season

                                                                                         (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It wasn’t long ago that Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears were lifting European trophies for the very first time in their histories, and now it’s time to put it all on the line again.

The Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup are back and once again there is comprehensive coverage on BT Sport for your rugby fans to enjoy.

However, the tournaments, which kick off this weekend (Friday December 11) have a different look this season due to the impact of COVID 19.


Heineken Champions Cup format

Europe’s number one club tournament is bigger for 2020-21 only, with 24 teams competing for the title. This will consist of eight teams from each of the Gallagher Premiership, Pro 14 and Top 14.

The teams will be split equally across two pools of 12 and ranked in tiers from one to four.

Top ranked teams will play four matches against tier four teams, with teams from tiers two and three also playing each other. Teams from the same domestic league will not play each other in the pool stages.

After the fixtures are complete the top four ranking teams from both pools will go through to compete in two-legged quarter finals. The four next best clubs from each pool qualify for the Challenge Cup Round of 16.


Challenge Cup format

The remaining 14 teams from Europe’s top three leagues will compete in the Challenge Cup, initially in two pools of seven.

The clubs will be split into tiers in a similar way to the Champions Cup and will again avoid playing domestic opponents or same tier opponents in the group stages.

The top eight teams from the pools will head to a Round of 16 along with eight ‘next best’ sides from the Champions Cup.


What’s coming up?

The first two rounds of fixtures will take place on the weekends of December 11-13 and December 18-20.

The group stages conclude in January with the knock out phases taking place in April and May.

For full fixtures and to download social assets and posters to promote the games click here.


Heineken Champions Cup

The below fixtures are all live on BT Sport. Check listings for channel details. 


Friday December 11

Northampton vs Bordeaux-Begles, 5.30pm

Ulster vs Toulouse, 8pm


Saturday December 12

Bristol Bears vs Clermont Auvergne, 1pm

Bath vs Scarlets, 3.15pm

Toulon vs Sale Sharks, 3.15pm

Dragons vs Wasps, 5.30pm

Montpellier vs Leinster, 5,30pm

Edinburgh vs La Rochelle, 8pm


Sunday December 13

Lyon vs Gloucester, 1pm

Exeter vs Glasgow Warriors, 3.15pm

Racing 92 vs Connacht, 3.15pm

Munster vs Harlequins, 5.30pm

Friday 18th December

Scarlets vs Toulon, 5.30pm

Wasps vs Montpellier, 8pm


Saturday 19th December

Glasgow Warriors vs Lyon, 1pm

Leinster vs Northampton, 1pm

Gloucester vs Ulster, 3.15pm

La Rochelle vs Bath, 3.15pm

Clermont Auvergne vs Munster, 5.30pm

Bordeaux-Begles vs Dragons, 8pm

Sale Sharks vs Edinburgh, 8pm

Sunday 20th December

Harlequins vs Racing 92, 1pm

Toulouse vs Exeter, 3.15pm

Connacht vs Bristol Bears, 5.30pm

  • Let your customers know about all of the live rugby coming up in your venue by making the most of our point of sale and social assets. You can sign up to receive poster packs here.

Plus, this season we have revamped our portal so you can create your own posters and assets and order extra items from our new Point of Sale shop. Take a look here: 

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