European Champions Cup – And then there was 8

The weekend’s final round of pool fixtures in the European Champions Cup still had a few unanswered questions to address and but we now know who will line up for the quarter-finals.

The make-up of the last eight sees three teams from the TOP 14 (Clermont, Toulon, Toulouse), three from the PRO12 (Munster, Leinster, Glasgow Warriors) and two from the Premiership (Saracens, Wasps).

The Draw has thrown up four great ties as you would expect,  with a re-run of two former European Cup finals.

The clash between top seeds Clermont Auvergne and three-time winners Toulon will be a repeat of the 2013 final in Dublin and the 2015 final at Twickenham, where on both occasions Toulon came out on top.

Meanwhile, the quarter-final meeting between Munster and Toulouse will be a repeat of the 2008 final in Cardiff, when the Irish province took the title for the second time in their history.

Toulouse hold the record of winning the European Cup four times and are chasing a seventh appearance in the final this year.

Reigning champions Saracens will host Glasgow in what promises to be a fascinating encounter. It will be Saracens’ fifth home quarter-final – they have won three of the previous four – whilst in contrast Glasgow are in the quarter-final stages for the first time after a memorable campaign to date in the pool games, rounded off emphatically with Saturday’s 0-43 demolition of Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

The last eight game will be played on the 4G pitch at Allianz Park, which should suit both sides given that Glasgow, the 2015 PRO12 champions, also play on an artificial surface.

There are 15 European Cup titles among the eight teams, with five of them coming in the final quarter final – Leinster v Wasps. Three-time champions Leinster will have home advantage, but will no doubt recall and be out for revenge after Wasps were 33-6 winners in Ireland in the pool stages last season.

In the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals, Bath face Brive, Gloucester play Cardiff, Ospreys take on Stade Francais and Edinburgh host La Rochelle.

The Challenge Cup ties will be played on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st March with the Champions Cup games being played on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April.

 

European Champions Cup Quarter-final draw

Clermont Auvergne v Toulon

Leinster v Wasps

Saracens v Glasgow Warriors

Munster v Toulouse

 

Challenge Cup Quarter-final draw

Bath v Brive

Gloucester v Cardiff

Edinburgh v La Rochelle

Ospreys v Stade Francais