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Exeter begin Champions Cup title defence at home to Glasgow, 2020/21 pool fixtures confirmed

(Photo by INPHO via EPCR)

Exeter Chiefs, who secured a first top-flight European title in last month, will begin their defence of the Heineken Champions Cup with an opening round clash against Glasgow Warriors on Sunday, December 13.

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The Pool B Exeter contest at Sandy Park is one of a series of high-quality matches in the fixture schedules of the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup which have been announced by tournament organisers EPCR (click here for the Champions Cup fixtures schedule).

The television coverage in the United Kingdom and Ireland of this season’s expanded Heineken Champions Cup continues to be led by BT Sport who will once again broadcast every match live. 

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Thomas Waldrom talks about the characters inside the Exeter dressing room

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Thomas Waldrom talks about the characters inside the Exeter dressing room

The 24-club competition, featuring nine previous winners with 19 titles between them, will also be available on a free-to-air basis with one key match per round on Channel 4 and Virgin Media.

The opening free-to-air match pits the recent Challenge Cup winners, Bristol Bears, against experienced European campaigners Clermont at Ashton Gate in Pool B on December 12. 

On the same day, Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster start their quest for a record fifth title against Montpellier at the GGL Stadium in Pool B, while Wasps, who were defeated by Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership final, take on the Dragons at Rodney Parade in Pool A as the Welsh region makes a return to the tournament for the first time in ten years.

The journey to the 2021 finals weekend in Marseille gets underway on Friday, December 11, when former winners Northampton host the number one-ranked Top 14 representative, Bordeaux, at Franklin’s Gardens in Pool A. It is followed by the Pool B meeting of Ulster and four-time champions Toulouse at Kingspan Stadium.

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The modified Challenge Cup, which starts with 14 clubs, also kicks off on December 11 with newly-promoted Newcastle Falcons, up against Cardiff Blues at Kingston Park, Leicester Tigers taking on Brive Welford Road and Stade Francais hosting Benetton at Stade Jean-Bouin (click here for the Challenge Cup fixtures schedule).

 

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

12 Go to comments
J
Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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FEATURE Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink
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