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Heineken Champions Cup – R16 fixture dates, kick off times and path to final.
Following a tension-packed, number-crunching conclusion to the pool stage, and as the road to the 2023 Dublin finals weekend becomes clearer, EPCR is pleased to announce the dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 matches.
The elite clubs which have qualified for this season’s knockout stage have 26 EPCR titles between them, and eight former Heineken Champions Cup winners are in contention to lift the trophy again. Included are all three South African representatives with the Cell C Sharks, the DHL Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls booking their places in the business end of the tournament in impressive style.
A compelling series of Round 4 matches wasn’t the only good news as there was also a 42% increase in Heineken Champions Cup pool stage attendances compared to last season with the average attendance per club returning to pre-Covid figures.
In addition, after an understandably modest start, the Round 3 and 4 attendances in South Africa improved dramatically, rising by 62% to an average of 16,100 per match.
TV audiences are also tuning in in greater numbers than ever. After Round 3, official data recorded a 65% uplift in broadcast audiences across the core markets of France, Ireland, South Africa and the UK. There was also a record TV audience for a pool stage match on France Télévisions when viewers peaked at 2.2 million for the Round 4 contest between Stade Toulousain and Munster Rugby.
Every minute of the eight winner-takes-all matches will be broadcast live by BT Sport, SuperSport and beIN SPORTS with the additional bonus of free-to-air coverage by RTE in Ireland for the showdown between Leinster Rugby and Ulster Rugby on Saturday 1 April, by ITV in the UK and Ireland when the Exeter Chiefs and Montpellier Hérault Rugby clash on Sunday 2 April, and by S4C in Wales for the Ospreys’ visit to Saracens later the same day.
France Télévisions will also be providing free-to-air coverage of the contests between holders, Stade Rochelais, and Gloucester Rugby, and between Stade Toulousain and the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday 1 April and Sunday 2 April respectively.
With big attendances expected at all venues, Leinster are taking their match against Ulster to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium with an anticipated crowd of approaching 50,000, while five-time winners, Stade Toulousain, will host the Vodacom Bulls at the 33,000-capacity Le Stadium.
What promises to be another thrilling set of Heineken Champions Cup knockout fixtures gets underway on Friday 31 March when Leicester Tigers go head-to-head with Edinburgh Rugby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
The highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage have secured home advantage for the Round of 16 and this rule will remain in place for the quarter-finals. The semi-finals will be played in Europe at EPCR-designated venues with the showpiece final staged at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 20 May, and over 66,000 tickets have already been sold for the Dublin Finals weekend.
HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP – Round of 16
(Pool stage rankings in brackets / All kick-offs local times)
Friday 31 March
Match 5: Leicester Tigers (B4) v Edinburgh Rugby (A5), Mattioli Woods Welford Road (20.00)
BT Sport / beIN SPORTS / SuperSport
Saturday 1 April
Match 3: Cell C Sharks (A3) v Munster Rugby (B6), Hollywoodbets Kings Park (13.30)
SuperSport / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Match 6: DHL Stormers (B3) v Harlequins (A6), DHL Stadium (16.00)
SuperSport / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS
Match 1: Leinster Rugby (A1) v Ulster Rugby (B8), Aviva Stadium (17.30)
RTE / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS / SuperSport
Match 8: Stade Rochelais (B1) v Gloucester Rugby (A8), Stade Marcel Deflandre (18.30)
beIN SPORTS / France TV / BT Sport / SuperSport
Sunday 2 April
Match 2: Exeter Chiefs (A2) v Montpellier Hérault Rugby (B7), Sandy Park (12.30)
ITV / BT Sport / beIN SPORTS / SuperSport
Match 4: Saracens (A4) v Ospreys (B5), StoneX Stadium (15.00)
BT Sport / S4C / beIN SPORTS / SuperSport
Match 7: Stade Toulousain (B2) v Vodacom Bulls (A7), Le Stadium (16.00)
France TV / beIN SPORTS / SuperSport / BT Sport
Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April
QF 1: Winner Match 1 v Winner Match 5
QF 2: Winner Match 7 v Winner Match 3
QF 3: Winner Match 2 v Winner Match 6
QF 4: Winner Match 8 v Winner Match 4
NB The highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home advantage
Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April
SF 1: Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2
SF 2: Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4
NB The matches will be played in Europe and the highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home country advantage
2023 Heineken Champions Cup final: Saturday 20 May; Aviva Stadium, Dublin