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Heineken Champions Cup to drop two-leg format for next season’s round of 16

10 May 2022 2 minute read
Ospreys’ Sam Cross wins a line-out during the Heineken Champions Cup game against Sale. Picture Nigel French PA Images

Tournament organisers have decided not to repeat the round of 16 two-leg format in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.

The first knockout phase will feature eight games on one weekend, before quarter-finals take place a week later.

This year’s home and away schedule produced some thrilling ties, notably Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins’ 60-59 aggregate defeat against Montpellier.

Next season’s tournament will be played over eight weekends, rather than nine this term, starting on December 9.

Four rounds of pool stage action will be followed by the last 16 from March 31-April 2, with the semi-finals later that month.

The 2023 European finals – Champions Cup and Challenge Cup – are due to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 19 and 20.

Anthony Lepage, chief executive of European Professional Club Rugby, said: “We are coming to the climax of what has been a challenging season for European club rugby, and have been able to welcome fans back to stadia from the recommencement of our competitions at the beginning of April.

“We have seen the very best EPCR competitions have to offer, and are building towards what will no doubt be a sensational weekend of rugby for our finals later this month.

“As we look ahead to next season, we are pleased to announce the dates of our competitions, and we will be announcing the formats in the coming weeks.”

Leinster meet Toulouse and Racing 92 face La Rochelle in this weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals, while the Challenge Cup last-four sees Wasps heading to Lyon and Saracens visiting Toulon.

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