The most elite sides in the Northern Hemisphere contest for the title of being crowned Heineken Champions Cup Champions this weekend. Also known as The European Rugby Champions Cup, the prestigious tournament dates back to 1995, where French club Toulouse became the inaugural winners.
Today, twenty-five tournaments later, the best sides from England, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy compete for Northern Hemisphere Rugby supremacy!
Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Finals Fixtures:
Saturday 10 April
La Rochelle v Sale Sharks, Stade Marcel-Deflandre, La Rochelle, France.
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster, Sandy Park, Exeter, England.
Sunday 11 April
Bordeaux-Bègles v Racing 92, Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France.
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Toulouse, Stade Marcel-Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Finals Previews:
This weekend, we see the first game between French side La Rochelle host on-form England side Sale Sharks on Saturday. The next game sees defending Heineken Champions Cup Champions Exeter Chiefs, host Pro14 Champions Leinster in what will be a mouth-watering encounter. Then on Sunday, the first of the all-French fixtures, where Bordeaux host traditional rivals Racing 92.
The round of Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Finals fixtures then concludes on Sunday where four-time champions Toulouse travel to fellow French side ASM Clermont Auvergne. An action-packed European Rugby weekend awaits! Which team do you see lifting the Heineken Champions Cup this season?
Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Finals Team Line Ups:
15. Brice Dulin, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12. Levani Botia, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Ihaia West, 9. Tawera Kerr Barlow, 1. Reda Wardi, 2. Pierre Bourgarit, 3. Uini Atonio, 4. Romain Sazy (c), 5. Will Skelton, 6. Grégory Alldritt, 7. Kevin Gourdon, 8. Victor Vito.
15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Sam James, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Marland Yarde, 10. AJ MacGinty, 9. Faf de Klerk, 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Willgriff John, 4. Jacobus Wiese, 5. Josh Beaumont (c), 6. Jean-Luc du Preez, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Dan du Preez.
15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Jordan Larmour, 13. Rory O’Loughlin, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton (c), 9. Luke McGrath, 1. Cian Healy, 2. Ronan Kelleher, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Scott Fardy, 5. Devin Toner, 6. Rhys Ruddock, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Jack Conan.
15. Romain Buros, 14. Santiago Cordero, 13. Yoram Falatea-Moefana, 12. Rémi Lamerat, 11. Ben Lam, 10. Matthieu Jalibert, 9. Maxime Lucu, 1. Jefferson Poirot (c), 2. Clement Maynadier, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Kane Douglas, 5. Cyril Cazeaux, 6. Cameron Woki, 7. Guido Petti, 8. Scott Higginbotham.
15. Emiliano Boffelli, 14. Louis Dupichot, 13. Olivier Klemenczak, 12. Kurtley Beale, 11. Juan Imhoff, 10. Antoine Gibert, 9. Maxime Machenaud (c), 1. Eddy Ben Arous, 2. Camille Chat, 3. Cedate Gomes Sa, 4. Boris Palu, 5. Donnacha Ryan, 6. Wenceslas Lauret, 7. Baptiste Chouzenoux, 8. Jordan Joseph.
15. Kotaro Matsushima, 14. Damian Penaud, 13. George Moala, 12. Wesley Fofana, 11. Alivereti Raka, 10. Camille Lopez (c), 9. Morgan Parra, 1. Peni Ravai, 2. Adrien Pélissié, 3. Cristian Ojovan, 4. Peceli Yato, 5. Sébastien Vahaamahina, 6. Judicaël Cancoriet, 7. Alexandre Fischer, 8. Fritz Lee.
15. Maxime Médard, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Zack Holmes, 12. Pita Ahki, 11. Matthis Lebel, 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont, 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Julien Marchand (c), 3. Charlie Faumuina, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Richie Arnold, 6. Selevasio Tolofua, 7. Francois Cros, 8. Jerome Kaino.
Replacements:16. Peato Mauvaka, 17. Clément Castets, 18. Dorian Aldegheri, 19. Joe Tekori, 20. Thibaud Flament, 21. Alban Placines, 22. Baptiste Germain, 23. Yoann Huget.
Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Finals Writer’s Predictions:
La Rochelle v Sale Sharks:
What is set to be an interesting encounter in France this Saturday? Hosts La Rochelle enters this fixture as favourites, however, on-form Sale Sharks will be seeking to overcome the odds. Sale Sharks are ranked third in the Gallagher Premiership table, and I believe they will leave France with a win this Saturday.
The Sharks mobile loose-trio along with their world-class scrum-half Faf De Klerk may prove to be too experienced for the French club. That being said, I predict a Sale Sharks triumph by 10 points.
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster:
Last seasons champions host the Pro14 champions, as the second Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Final stands out as the most anticipated fixture for the weekend. Exeter has been playing an entertaining brand of rugby, whereas Leinster will go into this encounter full of confidence following their Pro14 triumph.
The team morale at Leinster seems to have given their players their ideal confidence and I will travel to Exeter with victory in sight. I believe the Irish outfit Leinster will knock out defending champions Exeter by a close 5 point victory!
Bordeaux-Bègles v Racing 92:
The first of the all-French affair seems to have us all waiting to witness which side will prevail victorious in this match! These two powerful sides last played on 23 January 2021, where Bordeaux won by a narrow 1 point in their 33-32 encounter.
Racing 92 will definitely seek to make amends following their previous defeat to Bordeaux with a hard-fought away victory. As it currently stands, there is little between these two sides as any side can win it come this Sunday. That being said, I’ll back the hosts to beat Racing 92, with a Bordeaux 3 point triumph!
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Toulouse:
The last game of the Heineken Champions Cup Quarter Final ends with another all French fixture as French Top 14 table-topping Toulouse travel to their arch-rivals Clermont Auvergne. Toulouse seems to be the side that has been the most successful Heineken Champions Cup history, as both them and Leinster have won the trophy a record four times.
I see this current Toulouse side being way too powerful and with their star finishers such as Cheslin Kolbe and Antoine Dupont, Clermont defence will need to be on their top game for this quarter final. I believe we will see a tight game, however, the Toulouse side will be the winners by a hard-fought 10 points this Sunday!
Let me know your predictions in the comments below!