Leinster and Munster set for h...

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Leinster and Munster set for home advantage in Heineken Champions Cup


The Heineken Champions Cup will resume in April, with the remainder of the tournament to be played over four knockout rounds.

Following the suspension of the competition after just two rounds of games in January, tournament organisers have agreed to run the remainder of the European season off as a knockout cup competition.

The top eight sides as things stand from each pool have been advanced to the round of 16, including both Leinster and Munster.

And in further good news for the two Irish provinces, they will both be guaranteed home advantage for their last-16 games, on account of winning their first two matches. Racing 92, Wasps and Bordeaux-Begles have also been ensured of home advantage, with the remaining home and away places being decided by open draw.

That draw - and the draw for the quarter finals - will take place on Tuesday March 9th, with the games to be played on the weekend of April 2-4. It has been pre-determined that clubs cannot be drawn against clubs from their own league, so both Leinster and Munster know they will face either English or French opposition.

The possible opponents for either side would be: La Rochelle, Toulon, Sale Sharks, Lyon, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne, Bristol, Exeter or Gloucester.

Meanwhile, Ulster and Connacht have dropped into the Challenge Cup, which will follow the same format as the Heineken Champions Cup.

The top eight teams at the time of the tournament's suspension have been joined by the eight Champions Cup teams who failed to reach their knockout stages.

Both Ulster and Connacht could have have advantage for their Challenge Cup outings, but it will be left to the luck of the draw, with just London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers guaranteed home advantage.

Similarly to the Heineken Champions Cup, teams from the same domestic league cannot face each other, with strong potential opposition for Ulster and Connacht in the form of London Irish, Leicester, Agen, Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints, Bath, Montpellier and Harlequins.

Following the round of 16 on the first week of April, the quarter finals of both competitions will take place on the weekend of April 9-11. The semi finals are still scheduled for April 30-May 2, with the respective Challenge and Champions Cup finals taking place on May 21 and 22 respectively.

"For more of these stories, visit otbsports.com."

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Connacht Rugby Heineken Champions Cup Irish Rugby Leinster Rugby Munster Rugby Ulster Rugby

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