Rugby: Champions Cup to resume with quarter-finals in September

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - European Champions Cup Final - Leinster Rugby v Saracens - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - May 11, 2019 Saracens players celebrate winning the final with the trophy after the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

(Reuters) - This year’s Champions Cup quarter-finals have been rescheduled for the weekend of Sept. 19-20 after the knockout stages were initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said on Thursday.

Reigning champions Saracens will meet Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sept. 19, followed by ASM Clermont Auvergne’s clash against Racing 92 at Stade Marcel-Michelin.

On Sept. 20, four-times winners Toulouse will take on Ulster at Le Stadium, before the meeting of Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints at Sandy Park.

The Challenge Cup, a second-tier competition for European clubs, will be play its quarter-finals from Sept. 18-20.

“All matches will be subject to government guidelines and/or restrictions with EPCR prioritising the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, media, supporters and the wider rugby community,” EPCR said in a statement.

Last week, EPCR confirmed the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will not take place in Marseille after the local organising committee deemed the safeguards in place to host matches insufficient.

EPCR said it was looking at alternate venues to ensure this year’s finals go ahead on the weekend of Oct. 16-18.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis