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Leinster facing a tough schedule in search for silver

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Owen Farrell is sticking with Saracens

Owen Farrell is sticking with Saracens

Owen Farrell is sticking with Saracens

Leinster will welcome Saracens to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, September 19 for their eagerly anticipated Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final.

The champions have lost some fire-power during lockdown as a number of players left the relegated Premiership side, but today they confirmed that Owen Farrell will remain for their season in the Championship and thus will be on the panel to face Leinster.

That game, the third meeting of the two teams that have won the last four iterations of this tournament between them and a repeat in successive seasons, is the pick of a heavyweight line-up.

Ulster will take on Toulouse on Sunday, September 20 in their quarter-final and that match will be broadcast free-to-air on Virgin Media and Channel 4. All other games will be on BT Sport.

The two Irish sides cannot meet in the semi-final if they progress, with the winner of Leinster's game set for a clash with the winners of Clermont v Racing 92 and Exeter Chiefs or Northampton the reward for the victors at Toulouse's Le Stadium.

The final has been fixed for October 17 and organisers will not set a venue until closer to that date, having postponed plans to host it in Marseille until next year.

The competition was suspended in March as the pandemic spread across Europe, forcing the French to cancel their Top 14 campaign and suspending the Premiership and PRO14.

Irish rugby will return to action on August 22 with a set of interprovincial games, with Leinster set to face Munster and Ulster before playing the PRO14 semi-final a week later.

If they reach the domestic final, that match will take place a week before the Saracens match.

Mark McCall, in contrast, already knows his side's fate and can rest his squad before they travel to Dublin.

Of course, the entire thing is dependent on teams being able to travel.

"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," a statement read.

 

Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals

(All kick-offs Irish time and broadcast on BT Sport unless stated)

Saturday September 19

Leinster v Saracens, Aviva Stadium, 3.0; Clermont v Racing 92, 5.30; ASM Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92, Stade Marcel-Michelin, 5.30;

Sunday, September 20

Toulouse v Ulster, Le Stadium,12.30; BT Sport, Virgin Media, Channel 4; Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints, Sandy Park, 5.30;

Semi-final 1 - winner of QF 1, Leinster Rugby v Saracens, will play the winner of QF 2, ASM Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92

Semi-final 2 - winner of QF 3, Toulouse v Ulster Rugby, will play the winner of QF 4, Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints

(Matches to be played on September 25/26/27 )

2020 Heineken Champions Cup final: weekend October 16/17/18 (venue TBC)