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Rugby News

New dates for European knockout rounds

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Tournament organisers EPCR have today announced that new dates for the postponed knockout stages of the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been officially agreed.

Leicester Tigers had been due to host Castres Olympique in the last eight of the Challenge Cup in April before the lockdown due to COVID-19.

Now the EPCR Board has approved a revised schedule with games in September and October.

Subject to government guidelines and with the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officiais, supporters and the wider rugby community to the fore, it is now planned that the quarter-finals of both tournaments will be played on the weekend of September 18/19/20 with the semi-finals – when the winner of the Tigers versus Castres clash would face Toulon or the Scarlets – a week later.

Exact fixture dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage will be announced soon.

The European season will conclude with the Challenge Cup Final on Friday, October 16 and Heineken Champions Cup Final on Saturday, October 17.

EPCR remains committed to staging the finals in Marseille, but the situation is under review in light of public gathering and international travel restrictions which might be in place at the time of the finals. EPCR and the local organising committee in Marseille intend to clarify the position regarding the finals, including details of ticket refunds where applicable, as soon as possible.

New formats for the 2020/21 season are being considered as a consequence of widespread fixture disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 24-club Heineken Champions Cup with eight representatives from each of Europe's leading league competitions is one of the options under discussion.

Any changes would apply to next season's tournaments, which are scheduled to start on the weekend of December 11/12/13, only on an exceptional basis. An official announcement regarding formats will be made once ail discussions are concluded.

New EPCR dates

Quarter-finals: September 18/19/20

Semi-finals: September 25/26/27

Challenge Cup Final: Friday, October 16

Heineken Champions Cup Final: Saturday, October 17