Montpellier Hérault Rugby are the focus of the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup teams today as they bid to follow up last season’s EPCR Challenge Cup triumph with success in European club rugby’s elite competition.

European Cup record

The TOP 14 club may have won the Challenge Cup three times, but they have only once progressed to the knockout stages of the senior tournament – in 2012/13, when they lost 36-14 at ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Last season

It didn’t begin well in the Heineken Champions Cup for Montpellier, as they crashed 35-14 at home to Leinster Rugby and 33-14 at Wasps. However, they then dropped into the Challenge Cup and didn’t look back, as they won a series of hard-fought matches to take the title – 26-21 at home to Glasgow Warriors, 31-25 at home to Benetton Rugby, 19-10 at Bath and 18-17 against Leicester Tigers in the Twickenham Stadium final.

Director of rugby

Philippe Saint-André has held the post since March 2020, when he ended five years in the coaching wilderness following his four-year spell as France coach. Previously, the ex-France wing had been in charge of Gloucester Rugby (1998-2002), Bourgoin (2002-04), Sale Sharks (2004-09) and RC Toulon (2009-11).

Key players

Montpellier’s pack is full of French internationals, with hooker Guilhem Guirado, prop Mohamed Haouas, lock Paul Willemse, flankers Yacouba Camara and Fulgence Ouedraogo probably the best known. However, it is their back line who really catch the eye, with two World Cup winners in South Africa fly-half Handré Pollard and scrum-half Cobus Reinach, plus ex-Springboks centre Jan Serfontein.

Pool fixtures

Montpellier start their Pool A schedule with a visit to 2020 champions Exeter Chiefs on December 11 and then host four-time winners Leinster Rugby on December 17. A trip to Dublin’s RDS Arena follows on January 16, before they close their pool programme at home to Exeter on January 23.