Heineken Champions Cup Sets Dates

There is still a lot up in the air as regards travel corridors and social distancing but at least a blurry picture of the conclusion of the European Champions Cup is beginning to emerge.

The Quarter Finals, featuring Leinster at home to Saracens and Ulster away to Toulouse are scheduled for the weekend of the 18th, 19th and 20th September.

The Semi Finals are then down for conclusion one week later with the Final, still scheduled for Marseille, taking place as previously announced on October 17th.

All of this is though, in the words of European Professional Club Rugby “subject to government guidelines and with the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community to the fore.”

We will know on July 9th if France, Ireland and Britain form part of air corridors that would enable travel between the countries.

If Britain and Ireland are not joined, then Saracens would have to travel here and isolate for 14 days before the game could be played.

If the UK and France are not then Ulster and Toulouse would face logistics challenges that would be hard to unpick.

Leinster and Saracens was almost close to selling out for the original date and if the game goes ahead there with spectators it is likely to be only a fraction of the potential 52,000 that would be able to attend.  There certainly won’t be any repeat of the picture above.

The size of the stadium though would at least permit some 18,500 to get there on simple maths though access and egress would remain an issue and the time taken to be there, as well as unease with crowds which may or may not be evident at that time, makes it still uncertain.

Still every journey begins with a single step and at least there is a programme in place now.

Leinster announced 28 new contracts for players yesterday including five stepping up from the Academy. Among them is Jack Dunne who your editor once coached as an U12 goalkeeper in Gaelic Football. Looks like he made the right choice to focus on the oval ball.

 

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Image credit: James Crombie, Inpho.ie

 

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