Heineken Champions Cup players fulfilled leading roles as England and France became the first countries to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals at the weekend.
2017 EPCR Player of the Year Owen Farrell, a key member of Saracens’ 2019 Heineken Champions Cup-winning squad, and utility back Elliot Daly, who joined Sarries in the summer, contributed 14 points to England’s 39-10 victory over Argentina, Daly with a try and Farrell with three conversions and a penalty.
Exeter Chiefs, who have been drawn in Pool 2 of this season’s competition, had two try-scorers among England’s six in Tokyo on Saturday, namely replacement hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and wing Jack Nowell. It was Cowan-Dickie’s third try in three World Cup ties.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) October 5, 2019
A day later ASM Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse and Racing 92 players shone as France squeezed home 23-21 against Tonga in Kumamoto to set up a Pool C decider with England next weekend to determine who finishes top of their group.
Racing centre Virimi Vakatawa and Clermont wing Alivereti Raka scored first-half tries that were converted by Toulouse back Romain Ntamack as France opened up a 17-0 lead, before Ntamack sealed the narrow victory in the second period with two of his three penalties.
In addition, Raka, who has scored six tries in only 10 European appearances, gained 142 metres against Tonga, the most by a France player at a World Cup match since 2003.
Clermont have been drawn in Pool 3 of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, Racing in Pool 4 alongside Saracens and Toulouse in Pool 5. For a full list of the pool fixtures, please click here.