Champions Cup: Connacht to meet Leinster under the lights before Good Friday return

First leg to be held at The Sportsground before Good Friday second leg at the Aviva

The Connacht-Leinster two-legged Round of 16 tie in the Heineken Champions Cup will take place over successive Friday nights on April 8th and 15th, with the western province hosting the first leg in the Sportsground (kick-off 8pm) before the rivals meet again seven nights later on Good Friday at the Aviva Stadium, when there will be a 5.30pm kick-off.

Ulster will be away to the five-time winners Toulouse on Saturday, April 9th in their first leg at Le Stadium (kick-off 4.15pm local time/3.15pm Irish) before hosting the second leg in Belfast the following Saturday, when there will be an 8pm kick-off.

Munster travel to Sandy Park to face Exeter Chiefs in their first leg on Saturday, April 9th (kick-off 5.30pm) and then host the second leg at Thomond Park the following Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

While all Round of 16 matches will be live on BT Sport, additional free-to-air coverage on Virgin Media and Channel 4 in Ireland and the UK is scheduled for the first-leg tie between Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears on Saturday, April 9th and for the second leg between Harlequins and Montpellier on Saturday, April 16th.

In the event of drawn matches or equal aggregate scores at the end of normal time during the knock-out stage of the Champions Cup, extra-time will be played with the exception of the first legs of the Round of 16 matches.

The quartet of Irish provinces are also in the same half of the draw. The winners of the Connacht-Leinster two-legged tie will face either Leicester, away, or Clermont at home in the quarter-finals.

Were Ulster to beat Toulouse, they would be at home in the quarter-finals against either Munster or Exeter. Were Munster to overcome Exeter and play Toulouse, the quarter-final would be at Thomond Park.

Champions Cup last-16 (all fixtures on BT Sport)

First leg

Friday April 8th
Connacht v Leinster, The Sportsground (8pm)

Saturday April 9th
Sale Sharks v Bristol Bears, AJ Bell Stadium (1pm, Channel 4/Virgin Media)
 Bordeaux-Bègles v La Rochelle, venue TBC (1pm)
Toulouse v Ulster, Le Stadium (3.15pm)
Exeter Chiefs v Munster, Sandy Park (5.30pm)
Stade Francais v Racing 92, Stade Jean Bouin (5.30pm)

Sunday April 10th
Montpellier v Harlequins, GGL Stadium (1pm)
Clermont Auvergne v Leicester, Stade Marcel-Michelin (3.15pm)

Second leg

Friday April 15th
Leinster v Connacht, Aviva Stadium (5.30pm)
Bristol Bears v Sale Sharks, Ashton Gate (8pm)

Saturday April 16th
Harlequins v Montpellier, Twickenham Stoop (12.30pm, Channel 4/Virgin Media)
Munster v Exeter Chiefs, Thomond Park (3pm)
La Rochelle v Bordeaux-Bégles, Stade Marcel Deflandre (3pm)
Leicester v Clermont Auvergne, Welford Road (5.30pm)
Ulster v Toulouse, Kingspan Stadium (8pm)

Sunday April 17th
Racing 92 v Stade Francais, Paris La Défense Arena (16.30)

Quarter-finals - May 6th/7th/8th:

The quarter-finals will be played as one match, and the highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home venue advantage as follows:

QF 1: Racing 92 (A1) or Stade Francais (B8) v Bristol Bears (B4) or Sale Sharks (A5)
QF 2: Harlequins (B2) or Montpellier (A7) v La Rochelle (A3) or Bordeaux-Bègles (B6)
QF 3: Ulster (A2) or Toulouse (B7) v Munster (B3) or Exeter Chiefs (A6)
QF 4: Leicester (B1) or Clermont (A8) v Leinster (A4) or Connacht (B5)

Semi-finals - May 13th/14th/15th:

The semi-finals will be played as one match, and the highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have either home country advantage or home venue advantage (TBC) as follows:

SF 1: Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2
SF 2: Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4

2022 Champions Cup final:

Saturday May 28th; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille (5.45pm)

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times