Euro refixtures to hit Schmidt's plans
Joe Schmidt's preparations for the Six Nations could face some disruption after it was revealed that Munster and Ulster will face re-arranged Champions Cup action on the weekend of January 8/9/10.
Schmidt may have been hoping to earmark the first week of 2016 as a chance to gather his squad in a preliminary camp ahead of the Six Nations defence, which begins on February 7 with a home tie against Wales. He may now need a rethink.
Following the completion of discussions between EPCR, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, Premiership Rugby and Pro12 Rugby, the six European club matches which were postponed due to the Paris attacks were re-scheduled.
The decision to re-schedule means that the first four rounds can be fully completed before the decisive final two rounds, a point that was highlighted by Munster coach Anthony Foley this week, along with the steadfast desire to avoid midweek matches.
The decision to play the postponed games on the second weekend in January means that the Round 13 fixtures in the Top 14 will now be played later in the season, as will the following Round 12 fixtures in the Pro12: Ulster v Dragons, Zebre v Glasgow, and Cardiff v Munster. In addition, the Ospreys v Leinster match has been moved to 7.45pm on Friday, January 8 which will be on Sky Sports and BBC Wales.
Postponed matches to be rescheduled on January 8/9/10, 2016 - Champions Cup,
Round 1: Oyonnax v Ulster, Racing 92 v Glasgow Warriors, Bordeaux-Bègles v Clermont Auvergne, Toulon v Bath.
Round 2: Stade Francais v Munster.
Challenge Cup, Round 1: Pau v Castres.