Champions Cup: quarter-final line-ups confirmed
All of the Irish provinces are through to the last eight but who will they play?
Leinster’s bonus point win over Wasps secured Leo Cullen’s team a home quarter-final. Photograph: Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Three Irish sides in the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup for the first time ever and all three will be reasonably content with how events panned out on Sunday.
The Leinster-Ulster quarter-final will be a guaranteed sell-out at the Aviva on the final weekend in March, and if Munster had to be consigned to an away quarter-final, they’d assuredly have chosen Edinburgh, not least as Murrayfield will be able to cope with as many Munster supporters as possible.
Leinster’s 37-19 win away against Wasps secured a home quarter-final and a third-placed ranking. With Toulouse failing to register a bonus point in their 20-17 win over Bath, Ulster finished above the French team as the sixth-ranked side and rather than Toulouse, Dan McFarland’s team will head to Dublin.
Television will dictate the kick-off times, and BT Sport will presumably want to show the sole Premiership representatives, Saracens, in their home quarter-final. Leinster will push for a 5.30 kick-off.
Looking further down the track, as the top two seeds, Saracens and Racing would have home country advantage in the semi-finals. And as things have transpired, the winners of the Leinster-Ulster tie are in opposite halves of the draw from Munster.
In other words, if Munster beat Edinburgh, they will either be away to Saracens or at home to Glasgow. Meanwhile, if Leinster beat Ulster they will either be away to Racing or at home to Toulouse. So for Ulster, the prize is a semi-final away to Racing or at home to Toulouse.
Connacht sealed their place in the last eight of the European Challenge Cup with a 33-27 win away to Begles-Bordeaux on Saturday, and in so doing earned a tricky quarter-final away to pool rivals Sale Sharks.
Were Connacht to beat Sale, they would either be away to La Rochelle in the semi-finals, or at home to Bristol.
Champions Cup quarter-finals
Saracens v Glasgow
Racing 92 v Toulouse
Leinster v Ulster
Edinburgh v Munster
Challenge Cup quarter-finals
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins
Sale Sharks v Connacht Rugby
La Rochelle v Bristol Bears