Rugby fans rejoice! European club rugby is finally back and BT Sport is the only place that you can watch every single minute of the action as the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup begin with a bang.
Five Premiership clubs remain in the hunt for European club rugby’s greatest prize with Gloucester, Bristol Bears, Wasps, Sale Sharks and defending champions Exeter Chiefs all ready to do battle for a place in the quarter-finals.
Read on, or jump to the game of your choice, for match previews and live stream information for all eight games.
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Friday 2 April
Leinster v Toulon
Match cancelled. Read the full statement from EPCR.
La Rochelle became the first team to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup with an impressive victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm.
11 points from the boot of Ihaia West plus tries from Dillyn Leyds and Arthur Retiere were enough to secure victory for Ronan O’Gara’s side and book a home quarter-final against Sale Sharks or Scarlets.
The result represents a fresh setback for George Skivington’s Cherry and Whites who find themselves languihsing in 11th in the Premiership table.
Saturday 3 April
Wasps v Clermont – 12pm
TV: BT Sport 3 HD
The first of three mouth-watering games on Saturday sees two-time Heineken Champions Cup winners Wasps go toe-to-toe with one of the competition’s greatest teams to have never lifted the famous trophy, Clermont.
The two sides last met in the pool stages of the 2007/08 campaign when then defending champions Wasps lost at the Stade Marcel-Michelin before exacting revenge in the return fixture as a late Danny Cipriani penalty secured victory.
Perennial bridesmaids Clermont have made the final on three separate occasions only to lose every one, twice to French rivals Toulon in 2013 and 2015 and once to Saracens in 2017.
Despite their misfortune in the competition, Wasps head coach Lee Blackett is expecting a tough assignment.
“Clermont will be a tough proposition, but whoever you play in the knockout stages, is always going to be tough,” said Blackett.
“That’s why it’s the top club competition in Europe and it’s why we love playing in it and testing ourselves against the best.”
Injuries to key personnel and the Six Nations campaign has seen Wasps slip to ninth in the Premiership after taking just one win from their last six domestic outings and Blackett will be hoping to turn their season around with a strong showing in Europe.
The Midlanders will need marquee players Malakai Fekitoa, Alfie Barbeary and Dan Robson to re-discover their 2020 form if they are to make the quarter-finals for the first time in four years.
Should Wasps beat Clermont they will face Munster Rugby or Toulouse in the last eight at the Ricoh Arena for a place in the semi-finals.
Munster v Toulouse – 2.45pm
TV: BT Sport 3 HD
Munster and Toulouse will renew their historic European rivalry when the two square off in the headline tie of the round.
Two-time winners Munster host a star-studded Toulouse side looking to take erase memories of last season’s semi-final exit at the hands of Exeter Chiefs.
Toulouse’s only two defeats in the last two seasons have come at the semi-final stage to Leinster and Exeter and the famous old club are keen to win this trophy for the first time since 2010 and add a fifth star on their jerseys.
Despite losing their first meeting 60-19 way back in 1996-97, Munster hold a 4-2 head-to-head record over Toulouse.
Having beaten them in the 2008 final in Cardiff to win their second European crown, Munster won the two most recent meetings, both quarter-finals in 2014 and 2017.
The Irish province will be desperate to return to winning ways this weekend after losing to arch rivals Leinster in the Pro14 final last weekend.
Captain Peter O’Mahony was a casualty from that encounter and the talismanic flanker remains an injury doubt for this weekend.
“He’s very important to our plans – club captain, team captain, and a world-class player,” said Munster backs coach Stephen Larkham.
“We want to give him as long as possible. We don’t know today, we’ll make a decision later in the week.
“Any final that you lose or game you lose at the end of the season is tough. I guess the beauty of the current situation is that we’ve got another massive game this weekend. It’s another final this weekend effectively, we have to win to keep going in Europe.”
If they beat Toulouse, Munster would be away to two-time winners Wasps or Clermont Auvergne, whom they beat 39-31 after trailing 28-9 at the Stade Marcel-Michelin before Christmas.
TV: BT Sport 3 HD & Ultimate
Rounding off the action on Saturday are champions Exeter Chiefs as they resume the defence of their crown at home to Top 14 giants Lyon.
It will be the first meeting between the two sides and Lyon – who finished top of Pool B – will be hoping to spring a major upset in their first visit to Sandy Park.
It’s the start of a potentially season-defining fortnight for the Chiefs as they look to win a league and European Cup double for the second successive year.
Rob Baxter’s side will be itching to get back to winning ways after a second-string Chiefs outfit slipped to defeat against struggling Gloucester in round 15 of the Gallagher Premiership.
The Devonians will be boosted by the fact that their French opponents have won just two of their last six away games in the Top 14.
“It’s an interesting period,” said Baxter. “I don’t mind saying it, the only way I will know if we have got things right will be in two weeks’ time and if we have made it through in the [Heineken] Champions Cup and we are still where we want to be in the Premiership. That’s the challenge.
“If we get it right, then we will have a European quarter-final, which again will be a huge game, after which we roll into two massive games in the Premiership [against Wasps and Bristol Bears].
“For all of us, it’s an exciting time. It’s not just exciting for us as coaches, but also for the players as well. At the same time, it will be an opportunity for some players to do some special things, so it will be interesting to see who takes it.”
Four-time European champions Leinster or three-time winners Toulouse await the victor in the quarter-finals.
Sunday 4 April
Racing 92 v Edinburgh – 12pm
TV: BT Sport 3 HD
Easter Sunday on BT Sport begins in Paris as last year’s beaten finalists Racing look to go one better as they welcome Edinburgh to La Defence Arena.
The hosts will have to make do without their playmaker in chief Finn Russell after the mercurial fly-half was sent off in Scotland’s victory over France in last weekend’s Six Nations decider.
Referee Wayne Barnes showed Russell a straight red card after his forearm made contact with French full-back Brice Dulin’s neck as he tried to fend him off.
Russell is now suspended for three games including Sunday afternoon’s round of 16 tie against his fellow countrymen.
While Russell’s poise and finesse will be missed, the Parisians have no shortage of backline firepower with Virimi Vakatawa, Simon Zebo, Juan Imhoff, Teddy Thomas and ex-Wallaby international Kurtley Beale all fit and available.
Edinburgh will be hoping their South African-born winger Duhan van der Merwe can repeat his try-scoring heroics in Paris a week after helping Scotland upset France at the Stade de France.
Van der Merwe turned up for Sunday’s last 16 tie at Racing 92 in style on Friday night with two tries – including the match-winner – as Scotland recorded their first victory in France since 1999 to end their campaign on a high note.
The winners of the Racing v Edinburgh tie face a trip to either Bordeaux or Bristol in the next round.
Bordeaux Begles v Bristol Bears – 2.45pm
TV: BT Sport 3 HD
The BT Sport cameras stay in France for the second part of Sunday’s Champions Cup triple-header as Top 14 Bordeaux play host to Bristol Bears.
The Bears have reached the knockout stages of Europe’s premier club competition at the first time of asking, six months on from winning the Challenge Cup in a thrilling final against Toulon.
Flying high at the top of the Gallagher Premiership, Pat Lam’s side are targeting silverware on all fronts this season and few would bet against them going back-to-back in Europe.
The clash is a repeat of last season’s dramatic European Challenge Cup semi-final, with the match ending 20-20 the last time these two sides did battle last September. Piers O’Conor and Callum Sheedy scored in extra time to secure a 37-20 win to send the Premiership side to the final.
The Bears are unbeaten in their last seven league matches heading into the weekend, and with both these sides capable of producing scintillating attacking ball, it is a match-up sure to produce fireworks.
The winners of the Bordeaux-Begles v Bristol Bears tie will have home advantage against either Racing 92 or Edinburgh.
TV: BT Sport 3 HD
Our final match of the weekend pits Welsh region Scarlets against Sale Sharks.
Sale are the only Premiership side to be facing British opposition with Wasps, Exeter, Gloucester and Bristol all in action against French sides this weekend.
Alex Sandersons’ Sharks will be full of confidence going into Easter Sunday after producing a resurrection of their own to defeat Wasps last time out, with Josh Beaumont’s late try sealing a 20-19 win against Wasps.
Having spent the last 10 years helping to turn Saracens into a dominant European force, Sanderson certainly knows what it takes to win silverware and the rookie head coach believes Sale have the makings of a title-winning team.
“We are trying to build something special here with a blend of northern grit and South African steel. If you want to compete at the highest level you need the most dominant forward pack in the competition,” he said.
“There’s tremendous belief growing. We’re in a very good place and the next few weeks and months could be an exciting time for the club with so many huge Premiership games ahead, and hopefully a few in Europe.”
These two sides have been regular adversaries in Europe over the years, with the English side holding the upper hand in their recent tussles – winning four of the last five meetings between the pair.
Beat Scarlets and Sale could set up an all-Premiership quarter-final with Gloucester or La Rochelle up next in the last eight.