After eight long months without top-class European action, Europe’s elite club competition returns this weekend with four mouth-watering quarter-finals in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Europe’s elite eight will face off in the competition for the first time since January, in what is set to be a tantalising weekend of European Rugby.
The eight quarter-finalists boast a total of 13 European titles between them, with seven of them between last season’s finalists Leinster Rugby and Saracens, who clash at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Saracens finished second in Pool 4, securing the No.8 seed and face the daunting task of overcoming the powerhouse that is Leinster – who topped Pool 1 with six wins from six.
Leinster’s Garry Ringrose has already scored six tries in European competition this season and will no doubt play a key role, while Saracens can all upon a wealth of international talent but not fly-half Owen Farrell, who is suspended for Saturday’s match.
BT Sport and beIN SPORTS have coverage of the game which kicks off at 15:00 (all UK and Irish time) on Saturday 19 September.
ASM Clermont Auvergne and Racing 92 take centre stage soon after in an all-French affair at the Stade Marcel-Michelin, kicking-off at 17:45 and televised on BT Sport, France Televisions and beIN SPORTS.
The Top 14 sides topped Pool 3 and Pool 4 respectively – Clermont winning five of their six pool matches, losing to fellow quarter-finalists Ulster, while Racing managed four wins and a draw from their six pool matches including home wins over Saracens and Munster Rugby.
Toulouse then host Ulster as the second half of the quarter-final schedule gets underway on Sunday 20 September – televised on BT Sport, Channel 4, Virgin Media, FR2 and beIN SPORTS from Stade Ernest-Wallon at 12:30.
The French side topped Pool 5 with six wins from six in the pool stages, but will face an Ulster side who are battle-hardened and used to close contests – four of their five Pool 3 wins were won by a converted try or less.
The final last eight match-up sees two Gallagher Premiership foes face off at Sandy Park as Exeter Chiefs host Northampton Saints at 17:30, live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.
Exeter have been in emphatic form since their domestic competition returned in August, including a 22-19 win over their quarter-final opponents Northampton.
The Chiefs also topped Pool 2 after an undefeated campaign, and face the Saints who finished second in Pool 1 behind Leinster.
Saturday 19 September
Leinster Rugby v Saracens, Aviva Stadium (15:00) BT Sport/beIN SPORTS
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92, Stade Marcel-Michelin (17:45) BT Sport/beIN SPORTS/France Televisions
Sunday 20 September
Toulouse v Ulster Rugby, Stade Ernest Wallon (12:30) Channel 4/Virgin Media/BT Sport/beIN SPORTS/FR2
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints, Sandy Park (17:30) BT Sport/beIN SPORTS
Semi-finals: weekend of 25/26/27 September
Challenge Cup final: Friday, 16 October
Heineken Champions Cup final: Saturday, 17 October