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European Champions Cup 21/22 (Heineken Cup)

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Thu 01 Jul 2021, 4:41 pm

Not sure if there is already an article, so;

Following the conclusion of the domestic seasons in England and France, EPCR is pleased to confirm the format and qualifiers for the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup as Europe’s elite club tournament is set to return with a highly competitive schedule of 71 matches.

The Heineken Champions Cup will once again be competed for by 24 clubs with eight representatives from the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 having secured their places.

The clubs will be divided into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B – by means of a draw and the tournament will be played over nine weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December.

The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16 on a home and away basis, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in Marseille on 28 May 2022.

2021/22 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

POOL A (with opponents in brackets)

Stade Rochelais (Bath Rugby, Glasgow Warriors)

Exeter Chiefs (Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Glasgow Warriors)

Leinster Rugby (Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Bath Rugby)

Racing 92 (Northampton Saints, Ospreys)

Sale Sharks (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys)

Ulster Rugby (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Northampton Saints)

ASM Clermont Auvergne (Sale Sharks, Ulster Rugby)

Northampton Saints (Racing 92, Ulster Rugby)

Ospreys (Racing 92, Sale Sharks)

Montpellier Hérault Rugby (Exeter Chiefs, Leinster Rugby)

Bath Rugby (Stade Rochelais, Leinster Rugby)

Glasgow Warriors (Stade Rochelais, Exeter Chiefs)

POOL B (with opponents in brackets)

Stade Toulousain (Wasps, Cardiff Rugby)

Harlequins (Castres Olympique, Cardiff Rugby)

Munster Rugby (Castres Olympique, Wasps)

Union Bordeaux-Bègles (Leicester Tigers, Scarlets)

Bristol Bears (Stade Français Paris, Scarlets)

Connacht Rugby (Stade Français Paris, Leicester Tigers)

Stade Français Paris (Bristol Bears, Connacht Rugby)

Leicester Tigers (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Connacht Rugby)

Scarlets (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Bristol Bears)

Castres Olympique (Harlequins, Munster Rugby)

Wasps (Stade Toulousain, Munster Rugby)

Cardiff Rugby (Stade Toulousain, Harlequins)

2021/22 weekends

Round 1 – 10/11/12 December

Round 2 – 17/18/19 December

Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022

Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022

Round of 16 (1st leg) – 8/9/10 April 2022

Round of 16 (2nd leg) – 15/16/17 April 2022

Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022

Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022

Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
?????????? Confused......


Last edited by thebandwagonsociety on Wed 21 Jul 2021, 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Brendan Thu 01 Jul 2021, 5:37 pm

I don't like this format though might be cause of covid. There are few surprises and the top teams are usually getting very easy games.

For a team like Cardiff they get to play Quinns/Exeter and Toulouse/La Rochelle, Bath get Leinster/Munster plus French option. What hope do they have. Yes Toulouse managed to win the Cup from pool 4 but they were only there because of the season finishing early.

On the other hand pools 2 and 3 fight it out with no easy games thus meaning they finish lower down the pool.

Much prefer the 6 groups of 4. If they are going to play this format then have it you only play a team once so it is do or die. So instead of Glasgow playing Toulouse home and away they play Toulose at home and La Rochelle away and Cardiff the reverse.

I feel sorry for which ever English team gets Leinster and Toulouse/La Rochelle.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 01 Jul 2021, 5:43 pm

Do we know when the actual draw will take place?

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Post by Brendan Thu 01 Jul 2021, 5:44 pm

Not sure I like the 2 leg last 16. Means the best teams will get through and less surprises into the quarters (but maybe that's the point). We all love the underdog pulling one out on the day. I fear there could be a few Toulouse v Ebbw Vale where the second leg is irrelevant so no one cares.

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Post by doctor_grey Thu 01 Jul 2021, 5:53 pm

Brendan wrote:Not sure I like the 2 leg last 16.  Means the best teams will get through and less surprises into the quarters (but maybe that's the point).  We all love the underdog pulling one out on the day.  I fear there could be a few Toulouse v Ebbw Vale where the second leg is irrelevant so no one cares.
That was my first thought as well. I have never liked these home and away half-games. A match is supposed to be 80 minutes not 160. And if a team does better by whatever measure, they earn the home advantage. The visiting team just has to suck it up and go win. If I am a fan and get stuck watching the first half-game it is still like leaving at half time. And the point you make about irrelevant second games is right on the money for me as well.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 02 Jul 2021, 12:50 pm

I hope I'm wrong as the European cup is the greatest club comp in rugby by a wide margin, but I feel like we are looking at the beginning of the end, just like what happened with super rugby. This format is woeful and the SA sides inclusion will dilute the comps identity further (imo). I think the glory days of the old Heineken cup are long gone.

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Post by Poorfour Fri 02 Jul 2021, 1:10 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:I hope I'm wrong as the European cup is the greatest club comp in rugby by a wide margin, but I feel like we are looking at the beginning of the end, just like what happened with super rugby. This format is woeful and the SA sides inclusion will dilute the comps identity further (imo). I think the glory days of the old Heineken cup are long gone.

I think judging it on what's obviously a compromise solution as we emerge from a very disruptive pandemic is a bit premature. It's probably better to see what format it lands on when we have a more normal season calendar.
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Post by Welshmushroom Fri 02 Jul 2021, 2:01 pm

Not sure what to make of it really. Will the extra play off round add anything at all? Just having a quarter final, semi and final was fine as it was.

This just looks like a way to include more clubs in the knock out stages. With it being 2 legs as well it seems like a way for lesser sides to secure some home game revenues. Don't see how topping the table benefits anyone if it's over 2 legs. Thought the whole point why sides fought so hard to top their groups was to be rewarded by home advantage.

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Post by Brendan Fri 02 Jul 2021, 7:27 pm

I would much prefer instead of a last 16 have a preliminary round.

T14 = 14, Prem = 14, URC = 16, Euro Cup (T3) = 6, Total = 48

Home and away top 24 v bottom 24. Losers into Challange Cup, winners into Champions Cup.

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Post by MichaelT Wed 21 Jul 2021, 10:21 am

Draw for this is today at 12pm

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Post by Oakdene Wed 21 Jul 2021, 11:31 am

Hoping for Bristol & Bordeaux, 2 (hopefully!!!) good away trips there.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed 21 Jul 2021, 1:27 pm

2021/22 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

POOL A (with opponents in brackets)

Stade Rochelais (Bath Rugby, Glasgow Warriors)

Exeter Chiefs (Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Glasgow Warriors)

Leinster Rugby (Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Bath Rugby)

Racing 92 (Northampton Saints, Ospreys)

Sale Sharks (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys)

Ulster Rugby (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Northampton Saints)

ASM Clermont Auvergne (Sale Sharks, Ulster Rugby)

Northampton Saints (Racing 92, Ulster Rugby)

Ospreys (Racing 92, Sale Sharks)

Montpellier Hérault Rugby (Exeter Chiefs, Leinster Rugby)

Bath Rugby (Stade Rochelais, Leinster Rugby)

Glasgow Warriors (Stade Rochelais, Exeter Chiefs)

POOL B (with opponents in brackets)

Stade Toulousain (Wasps, Cardiff Rugby)

Harlequins (Castres Olympique, Cardiff Rugby)

Munster Rugby (Castres Olympique, Wasps)

Union Bordeaux-Bègles (Leicester Tigers, Scarlets)

Bristol Bears (Stade Français Paris, Scarlets)

Connacht Rugby (Stade Français Paris, Leicester Tigers)

Stade Français Paris (Bristol Bears, Connacht Rugby)

Leicester Tigers (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Connacht Rugby)

Scarlets (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Bristol Bears)

Castres Olympique (Harlequins, Munster Rugby)

Wasps (Stade Toulousain, Munster Rugby)

Cardiff Rugby (Stade Toulousain, Harlequins)

2021/22 weekends

Round 1 – 10/11/12 December

Round 2 – 17/18/19 December

Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022

Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022

Round of 16 (1st leg) – 8/9/10 April 2022

Round of 16 (2nd leg) – 15/16/17 April 2022

Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022

Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022

Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

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Post by MichaelT Wed 21 Jul 2021, 1:41 pm

The tier 2 and tier 3 matches look good, the tier 1 v tier 4 look dull. Bath v Leinster again?

This tournament is crying out for something new, and thats with 4 different winners in the last 4 years.

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Post by Cyril Wed 21 Jul 2021, 7:25 pm

Not a fan of this conference set up. Why can’t we go back to proper groups/pools. Remove the Italians and be mproce the quality.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:05 pm

Very strange format. You think if Scarlets get their act together, then that's a set of good games; vs Bordeaux and also Bristol.

Ospreys against Sale and Racing will just be forward affairs. Ospreys will miss out here as they don't have any decent wingers.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 21 Jul 2021, 9:47 pm

Cyril wrote:Not a fan of this conference set up. Why can’t we go back to proper groups/pools. Remove the Italians and be mproce the quality.

Remove the Rainbow Cup champions?

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Post by Cyril Thu 22 Jul 2021, 5:57 am

What’s the Rainbow Cup?

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 22 Jul 2021, 9:01 am

Cyril wrote:What’s the Rainbow Cup?

It's the trophy Bungle won for beating Zippy and George in a pancake eating contest.

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Post by Brendan Thu 22 Jul 2021, 11:38 am

Italians deserve to be in the Champions Cup as teams from North of England or France. If they finish in the top 8 in the league they deserve to be there.

Some people still think of Benetton = Italy like Bath = England. To be fair I reckon Benetton would be as good as Italy when you look at the non Italy players.

Either way Benetton will be looking to repeat the Challenge Cup Quarters like last year.

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Post by Brendan Thu 22 Jul 2021, 11:43 am

Don't like this format. Team like Glasgow might win one game but not 4 so the top 6 teams are unlikely to not win 3/4 games. It's not Covid so there is no Toulouse waiting around as a bottom seed team.

I hope they go back to 6 pools

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 22 Jul 2021, 1:56 pm

So from what I can tell with a Pool A and Pool B of 12 teams only the bottom 4 of each side will be eliminated. Then going into a 16 team 2 leg knockout basically negating the effect of home advantage.

So basically the bottom 4 is likely sides that lose all 4 games to begin with. Then your leveling the field by taking away home advantage from side that ended in the top 4 of each pool.

To be honest I can see teams looking at this format and then resting players after they have bagged 2 wins as they will have qualified anyway.

Totally pointless if you ask me. They should have just kept it at 16 teams and keep the old pool group system. The 2 leg knockout is a farce and a clear cash grab by the French and English to increase home game revenue.

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 22 Jul 2021, 2:02 pm

Looking at those pool as well Sale, Northampton, Montpellier & Bath wont make it out of group A.

Stade Francais, Castres, Bordeaux and Wasps wont make it out of pool B.

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Post by Oakdene Thu 22 Jul 2021, 3:33 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:Looking at those pool as well Sale, Northampton, Montpellier & Bath wont make it out of group A.

Stade Francais, Castres, Bordeaux and Wasps wont make it out of pool B.

TBH I think the Welsh sides will struggle!

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Post by Brendan Thu 22 Jul 2021, 3:52 pm

The bottom 6 could all lose all 4 games meaning any team that gets 1 win will most likely make it through if only the bottom 4 are knocked out.

I think Quinns and Munster are the weakest of the top teams. If Munster keep their pack and Carbary fit they should do fine. Quinns really comes down to focus as the Prem run they were lucky in a way to have such big comebacks. Not sure any of the Euro teams would afford them that especially away from home. Add in that they will be the one team most focused on their domestic league.

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 23 Jul 2021, 11:44 am

Looking at those fixtures the team losing out are:

Pool A - Bath, Montpellier, Glasgow and one of Ospreys/Saints/Ulster/Sale - in that order of probability
Pool B - Cardiff, Castres, Wasps and one of Connacht/Stade Français/Scarlets/Bordeaux - in that order of probability

I think the Welsh and Glasgow are in for a rough ride

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Post by Brendan Fri 23 Jul 2021, 7:49 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Looking at those fixtures the team losing out are:

Pool A - Bath, Montpellier, Glasgow and one of Ospreys/Saints/Ulster/Sale - in that order of probability
Pool B - Cardiff, Castres, Wasps and one of Connacht/Stade Français/Scarlets/Bordeaux - in that order of probability

I think the Welsh and Glasgow are in for a rough ride

This set up really punishes the teams who do poorly in their league.  As the 4 Irish finished top It was always going to be hard to do anything for the other 4 teams.  Realistically 5-6 pts should see a team through which means a win or some bonus points.  As all of the bottom level teams could lose very game it could come down to just BPs being enough to get through.

For a team like Glasgow if they get the one win and make it through their reward could be a double header v Toulouse, not great.

You have to wonder if the top seeds who won't face a difficult team until the quarters might struggle against a mid level team that has had 6 tight games maybe sitting on 50% w/l. I know it's broken up by league games but have to feel it will affect them.

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Post by Cyril Fri 23 Jul 2021, 7:58 pm

The ‘conference’ system is a really crap way to set up this tournament. Hopefully it’s just fIt one year? Get back to the proper group set up.

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Post by Cyril Fri 23 Jul 2021, 7:58 pm

The ‘conference’ system is a really crap way to set up this tournament. Hopefully it’s just fIt one year? Get back to the proper group set up.

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Post by Cyril Fri 23 Jul 2021, 7:59 pm

Sorry, double post.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 23 Jul 2021, 8:28 pm

Triple post really! You said the same thing the other day too!
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Post by Cyril Fri 23 Jul 2021, 9:13 pm

And I stand by it still!

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Post by Brendan Fri 23 Jul 2021, 9:23 pm

They are doing it this way because people complained they had to play other teams from their league.

Unless we have a fourth league or the league that doesn't care gets more teams we are where we are.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 23 Jul 2021, 9:38 pm

I have to admit I do think back with fond memories to the old format. It was good. But then I liked the old ‘pre-meritocracy’ days too as there were more clubs from more nations involved (usually) and it just felt a bit more.....inclusive (I know, I know: too many beatings for the weak teams, killing the competition, lack of credibility, etc., etc. But whatever!).
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Post by Brendan Fri 23 Jul 2021, 9:51 pm

The Oracle wrote:I have to admit I do think back with fond memories to the old format.  It was good. But then I liked the old ‘pre-meritocracy’ days too as there were more clubs from more nations involved (usually) and it just felt a bit more.....inclusive (I know, I know: too many beatings for the weak teams, killing the competition, lack of credibility, etc., etc. But whatever!).

The beatings still happen, just different teams.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 23 Jul 2021, 10:13 pm

Brendan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:I have to admit I do think back with fond memories to the old format.  It was good. But then I liked the old ‘pre-meritocracy’ days too as there were more clubs from more nations involved (usually) and it just felt a bit more.....inclusive (I know, I know: too many beatings for the weak teams, killing the competition, lack of credibility, etc., etc. But whatever!).

The beatings still happen, just different teams.

As I predicted they would. And then you need to cut the worst teams, again, to get rid of the dead wood and make the comp credible. And so you might reduce the comp in future to just the best, I dunno, 16 teams. All massive budgets. But then the cream will rise to the top and some teams will get beatings........ and so we reduce again to cut out the deadwood and we go down to 12 top teams. And the cycle continues. And sooner or later you have a top comp with just 4 teams! But no beatings. Maybe Very Happy
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Post by Brendan Sat 24 Jul 2021, 12:27 am

While I didn't like it at the time the reduction of the Pro12 teams did make the league more compeditive.

Having 8 teams from each league in the Champions Cup is a joke though as they are really ven top teams. Would much rather a split of 16 for the Champions Cup and 32 for the Challenge Cup (6 from Currie, Russia, Euro Super). That's not going to happen sadly.


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