Euro Cup pool details confirmed
The dates, venues and kick-off times for the European Cup Round Five and Six fixtures have been announced.
With clubs already crunching numbers in the aftermath of last weekend’s captivating series of European Cup matches, qualification for the quarterfinals will be on the line when the pool stages come to a dramatic conclusion in the New Year.
With coveted places in the last eight, as well as qualification for the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup and valuable ERC ranking points up for grabs, the tension is set to rise and rise for the contenders following the announcement of the dates, venues and kick-off times for the Round Five and Six fixtures.
One of the highlights of Round Five is undoubtedly the clash at the top of Pool One between Racing Metro and Saracens at Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes on Saturday, January 12.
The 38,285-capacity stadium will become the 102nd venue to stage European Cup action as Racing look to avenge their 30-13 defeat by the English club in Round Two.
The unbeaten trio of Clermont, Harlequins and Toulon will be attempting to continue their winning ways with home matches, also on the Saturday, against Exeter Chiefs, Connacht and Cardiff Blues respectively.
Ospreys, who put themselves right back in the hunt for qualification from Pool Two with a first ever tournament victory over four-time champions Toulouse last weekend, renew acquaintances with Leicester Tigers at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, January 13.
Ospreys pushed Tigers hard at Welford Road in Round Two before running out of steam in the final quarter and will be confident of reversing the result this time.
With each pool’s matches kicking off at the same time, Round Six will have coaches, supporters and media alike reaching for their calculators, and with mouth-watering confrontations between the likes of Biarritz and Harlequins, Castres and Ulster and Montpellier and Toulon on offer, the pool stages will reach a crescendo on Sunday, January 20 with the hugely-anticipated return matches between Munster and Racing at Thomond Park in Pool One and Leicester and Toulouse at Welford Road in Pool Five.
The Round Five matches will get underway on Friday, January 11 with the meetings of Pool Four frontrunners Ulster and Glasgow Warriors at Ravenhill and Northampton Saints and Castres at Franklin’s Gardens, while Salford City Stadium will host the Pool Six Sale Sharks-Montpellier tie.