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Anglo-French feel to Champions Cup quarter-finals as veteran Owens given weekend off

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

This month’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals in Dublin, Clermont, Toulouse and Exeter will have an Anglo-French feel to them as two referees from France and two from England have been appointed to take charge of the last-eight round of matches, leaving popular Welsh official Nigel Owens without a game.


France’s Pascal Gauzere will be in charge when the Champions Cup resumes with the heavyweight clash of No1-ranked Leinster and holders Saracens on September 19 at the Aviva Stadium. This was a match-up officiated by Jerome Garces when the teams met in May 2019 in the final in Newcastle.

Later the same September 19 day, Romain Poite, also of France, will be in the middle for the showdown at Stade Marcel-Michelin between Clermont Auvergne and Racing 92.

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EPCR chairman Simon Halliday explains the revised formats for the 2020/21 European tournaments
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EPCR chairman Simon Halliday explains the revised formats for the 2020/21 European tournaments

Then on Sunday, September 20, England’s Wayne Barnes will take charge of the head-to-head between four-time champions Toulouse and Ulster at Le Stadium, which will be followed at Sandy Park by the meeting of in-form Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints, a tie that will be refereed by Matthew Carley of England.

The Challenge Cup last-eight matches get underway on September 18 with France’s Mathieu Raynal appointed for the clash of Bristol Bears and the Dragons at Ashton Gate.

Ireland’s Frank Murphy will be in the middle for the following day’s Stade Chaban-Delmas meeting of Bordeaux and Edinburgh, while his compatriot, Andrew Brace, has been appointed for the Toulon-Scarlets tie at Stade Felix Mayol.


The concluding Challenge Cup quarter-final on September 20, which pits Leicester Tigers against Castres Olympique at Welford Road, will be refereed by Mike Adamson of Scotland.

Popular veteran referee Owens has been given the weekend off after being excluded from the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup rosters.

A statement from tournament organisers EPCR read: “All assistant referees and TMOs for the eight quarter-finals are from the unions of countries in which the matches are being played.

“All match official appointments are consistent with the advice of EPCR’s medical advisory group, which includes the chief medical officers of the six unions as well as the medical leads from Gallagher Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the LNR.”



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