Fixture dates and TV coverage announced

Stade Toulousain, who completed a magnificent double of Heineken Champions Cup and TOP 14 triumphs last season, will kick off the defence of their elite European title on Saturday, 11 December with a Round 1 clash in Pool B against Cardiff Rugby at Cardiff Arms Park.

The reprise of the historic inaugural final, which will be televised live on BT Sport as well as free-to-air in the UK and Ireland on Channel 4 and Virgin Media, is one of a host of high-quality contests in the pool stage fixture schedules of the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup which have been announced by tournament organisers EPCR.

Once again, BT Sport in the UK and Ireland, and beIN SPORTS in France, will broadcast each of the 48 Heineken Champions Cup pool matches live, and this comprehensive coverage will be complemented by free-to-air transmission of key fixtures in each round by Channel 4 and Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland, and by France Télévisions in France.

Click HERE for the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup fixtures
Click HERE for the 2021/22 EPCR Challenge Cup fixtures

Four-time tournament winners and last season’s PRO14 champions, Leinster Rugby, will open their campaign with a Round 1 tie in Pool A against Bath Rugby at the Aviva Stadium also on Saturday, 11 December, while Harlequins, who won the 2021 Gallagher Premiership in such spectacular style, will travel to play Castres Olympique on Sunday, 12 December in Pool B.

Highlights of the back-to-back clashes in Rounds 2 and 3 feature the Pool A matches between Sale Sharks and ASM Clermont Auvergne on Saturday, 18 December and Sunday, 16 January 2022, as well as the meetings of Stade Francais Paris and Bristol Bears in Pool B on Sunday, 19 December and Saturday, 15 January 2022.

Last season’s defeated finalists, Stade Rochelais, will attempt to go one better when they launch their European campaign against Glasgow Warriors in Pool A at Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Sunday, 12 December, and the tournament will get under way on Friday, 10 December when Northampton Saints host Racing 92 at the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Heineken Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 clubs, including nine previous winners with as many as 38 European titles between them, in two pools of 12 over four pool stage rounds. The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16 on a home and away basis, quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the final in Marseille on 28 May 2022. The clubs ranked nine to 11 in each of the pools will qualify for the Round of 16 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

A modified Challenge Cup format will see 15 clubs competing in three pools over five pool stage rounds with Saracens marking their return to European competition with a Round 1 match in Pool C against Edinburgh Rugby at the StoneX Stadium on Saturday, 11 December.

The 2012 winners, Biarritz Olympique, are also back in Europe after an absence of seven years and their opening Pool A tie on Saturday, 11 December sees them up against Zebre Rugby Club at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi while three-time finalists, RC Toulon, start out in Round 2 at Stade Félix Mayol also against Zebre on Friday, 17 December.

Clubs will only play against opponents from their own pool, and one club in each pool will have a bye during each round. The exact dates and kick-off times for the Round 5 fixtures on 8/9/10 April 2022 will be announced later in the season.

The three highest-ranked clubs from each pool, and the highest-ranked fourth-placed club, as well as six Heineken Champions Cup clubs, will qualify for the Round of 16 which will be played on the weekend of 15/16/17 April 2022, followed by quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the final at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on 27 May 2022.

2021/22 weekends
Round 1 – 10/11/12 December
Round 2 – 17/18/19 December
Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022
Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022
Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 (1st leg) and EPCR Challenge Cup Round 5 – 8/9/10 April 2022
Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 (2nd leg) and EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 – 15/16/17 April 2022
Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022
Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022
EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille