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Leinster and Munster guaranteed home draws as Champions Cup last-16 plan revealed

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Leinster and Munster will have home draws in the last-16 of the 2021 European Champions Cup. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leinster and Munster will have home draws in the last-16 of the 2021 European Champions Cup. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leinster and Munster will have home draws in the last-16 of the 2021 European Champions Cup. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leinster and Munster will have home draws in the round of 16 of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup after organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) confirmed the last two pool games will not take place.

EPCR has decided that teams who won both of their pool matches before the tournament was suspended will be rewarded with home draws, while they cannot meet teams from their own league.

All four provinces will have European action to look forward to after the Six Nations, with Ulster and Connacht going into the straight knockout phases of the Challenge Cup.

The draw for the rounds of 16 and the quarter-finals will take place on Thursday, March 9 with the matches taking place on the weekend of April 2/3/4.

In January, rounds three and four of the pool stages were cancelled as a result of concern in France at growing Covid-19 case numbers in Britain and Ireland.

With limited available weekends, EPCR has decided to sacrifice its two-legged quarter-final to play off a round of 16 before the traditional quarter-final, semi-finals and final which will be held in Marseille.

As well as Leinster and Munster, Racing 92, Wasps and Bordeaux Begles will have home draws.

In the Challenge Cup, the eight remaining Champions Cup teams will be in the draw with the eight top-ranked teams from the preliminary stage.

Ulster and Connacht will not be guaranteed home draws and could face PRO14 opposition if they qualified for the last 16 through the Challenge Cup. London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers will all be at home after they won both of their Challenge Cup games on the pitch.

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2020/21 EUROPEAN KNOCKOUT STAGE QUALIFIERS
Heineken Champions Cup – Racing 92, LeinsteR, Wasps, Bordeaux-Bègles, MunsteR, Lyon, Toulouse, La Rochelle, Scarlets, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, Edinburgh, Gloucester Rugby, RC Toulon, Sale Sharks
NB Racing 92, Leinster, Wasps, Bordeaux-Bègles and Munster are guaranteed home matches in the Round of 16

Challenge Cup – London Irish, Ospreys, Leicester Tigers, Cardiff Blues, Zebre, Agen, Benetton, Newcastle Falcons, Ulster, Connacht, Northampton Saints, Bath, Montpellier, Dragons, Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors
NB London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers are guaranteed home matches in the Round of 16

EPCR KEY DATES

Knockout Stage Draws: Tuesday, March 9
Rounds of 16: April 2/3/4
Quarter-finals: April 9/10/11
Semi-finals: April 30/May 1/2
Challenge Cup final: Marseille - Friday, May 21
Heineken Champions Cup final: Marseille - Saturday, May 22


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