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Dates and kick-off times confirmed for Champions Cup round of 16

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Juan Gasperini/MI News/NurPhoto)

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History will be made in early April when the eagerly-anticipated Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 fixtures will be played over two legs for the first time. Six former tournament winners are in contention to win the coveted silverware again following the announcement of the dates, kick-off times and broadcast coverage of the home and away matches.

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With aggregate scores over the two contests deciding the round of 16 winners, dramatic outcomes in packed stadiums are certain to be the order of the day as the four highest-ranked clubs in each pool are scheduled to play their second leg matches at home.

Holders Toulouse, who finished the pool stages threatening legal action against EPCR, are moving their first leg fixture against URC front runners, Ulster Rugby, to the 33,000-capacity Le Stadium on Saturday, April 9, with the action live on BT Sport, while the second leg goes ahead at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, April 16.

Racing 92, the No 1-ranked qualifier from Pool A, make the short journey to Stade Jean Bouin for their first leg clash with Stade Francais Paris also on Saturday, April 9, with the decisive second leg at Paris La Défense Arena on Sunday, April 17.

Pool B table-toppers and current Gallagher Premiership leaders, Leicester Tigers, relaunch their bid for the title which has eluded them since 2002 when they travel to Stade Marcel-Michelin to face Clermont on Sunday, April 10, ahead of the second meeting at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday, April 16.

While all round of 16 matches will be live on BT Sport, additional free-to-air coverage on Channel 4 and Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland is scheduled for the first leg tie between Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears on Saturday, April 9, and for the second leg head-to-head between Harlequins and Montpellier on Saturday, April 16.

Four-time winners Leinster kick off the historic round of 16 on Friday, April 8, with an all-Irish confrontation against Connacht at The Sportsground with the return leg set to go ahead at the 51,000-capacity Aviva Stadium on Friday, April 15.

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In the event of drawn matches or equal aggregate scores at the end of normal time during the knockout stage, extra time will be played with the exception of the first legs of the round of 16 matches.

Heineken Champions Cup – Round of 16 first leg
(all kick-offs local times)
Friday 8 April
Connacht Rugby v Leinster Rugby, The Sportsground (20.00)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Saturday 9 April
Sale Sharks v Bristol Bears, AJ Bell Stadium (13.00)
Channel 4 / Virgin Media / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Union Bordeaux-Bègles v Stade Rochelais, venue TBC (14.00)
beIN SPORTS / BT Sport
Stade Toulousain v Ulster Rugby, Le Stadium (16.15)
beIN SPORTS / FR 2 / BT Sport
Exeter Chiefs v Munster Rugby, Sandy Park (17.30)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Stade Francais Paris v Racing 92, Stade Jean Bouin (18.30)
beIN SPORTS / BT Sport
Sunday 10 April
Montpellier Hérault Rugby v Harlequins, GGL Stadium (14.00)
beIN SPORTS / BT Sport
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Leicester Tigers, Stade Marcel-Michelin (16.15)
beIN SPORTS / FR 2 / BT Sport

Heineken Champions Cup – Round of 16 second leg
Friday 15 April
Leinster Rugby v Connacht Rugby, Aviva Stadium (17.30)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Bristol Bears v Sale Sharks, Ashton Gate (20.00)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Saturday 16 April
Harlequins v Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Twickenham Stoop (12.30)
Channel 4 / Virgin Media / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Munster Rugby v Exeter Chiefs, Thomond Park (15.00)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Stade Rochelais v Union Bordeaux-Bégles, Stade Marcel Deflandre (16.00)
FR 2 / beIN SPORTS / BT Sport
Leicester Tigers v ASM Clermont Auvergne, Mattioli Woods Welford Road (17.30)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS / FR 4
Ulster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Kingspan Stadium (20.00)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Sunday 17 April
Racing 92 v Stade Francais Paris, Paris La Défense Arena (16.30)
beIN SPORTS / BT Sport

Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May
The quarter-finals will be played over one match, and the highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home venue advantage as follows:
QF 1: Racing 92 (A1) or Stade Francais (B8) v Bristol Bears (B4) or Sale Sharks (A5)
QF 2: Harlequins (B2) or Montpellier (A7) v Stade Rochelais (A3) or Bordeaux-Bègles (B6)
QF 3: Ulster (A2) or Stade Toulousain (B7) v Munster (B3) or Exeter Chiefs (A6)
QF 4: Leicester Tigers (B1) or Clermont (A8) v Leinster (A4) or Connacht (B5)

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Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May
The semi-finals will be played over one match, and the highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have either home country advantage or home venue advantage (TBC) as follows:
SF 1: Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2
SF 2: Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4
2022 Heineken Champions Cup final: Saturday, 28 May; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille (17.45)

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