Our preview of the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup continues today with a close look at four-time winners Leinster Rugby, who will be seeking to match the title record achieved by Stade Toulousain last season.

European Cup record

Leinster have won the competition on four occasions, the last being 2018 after a 15-12 win over Racing 92. Leinster’s first European success came in 2009, when they beat Leicester Tigers 19-16 in the final, and was followed by back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012 after respective victories against Northampton (33-22) and Ulster Rugby (42-14).

Last season

After an impressive 34-22 win at Exeter Chiefs in the quarter-finals, Leinster suffered defeat at the semi-final stage, when they were beaten 32-23 at Stade Rochelais.

Head coach

Former Leinster captain Leo Cullen was appointed as the Irish province’s head coach in 2015 following a stint as forwards coach. Cullen, a three-time European champion during his playing career with Leinster, became the first person to win the competition as a player and coach after the 2018 win in Bilbao. During that same season, Cullen oversaw Leinster’s first ever European-domestic double. Last season’s PRO14 final win over Munster Rugby was Cullen’s fourth consecutive domestic title as head coach.

Key players

Leinster will again look to the vast experience of current captain Johnny Sexton, the fourth highest European Cup points-scorer with 699, along with their large number of Irish internationals. They include three players who tasted Test action for the British and Irish Lions this summer in centre Robbie Henshaw, prop Tadhg Furlong and No.8 Jack Conan.

Pool fixtures

Leinster welcome Bath Rugby to Dublin for their first Pool A fixture – which is followed by a trip to Montpellier Hérault Rugby. Cullen’s men will then host the French club before their final pool match at Bath.