Last season's Champions Cup finalists Leinster and La Rochelle to clash againJul 13 | 1 min read
The fixtures for the pool stage of the Heineken Champions Cup have been confirmed, with a new campaign of European club rugby set to begin on Friday 10 December.
Club rugby's premier competition will once again be competed for by 24 elite clubs in two pools of 12, with eight representatives from each of Europe’s leading professional leagues.
Reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins kick off their quest for a first top-flight European title with a trip to Castres Olympique, while four-time winners Leinster start out at home against 1998 champions Bath.
Highlights of the back-to-back clashes in rounds two and three include Pool A matches between Sale Sharks and three-time finalists Clermont, and the meetings of Stade Francais Paris and Bristol Bears in Pool B.
The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16 on a home and away basis, quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the final in Marseille on 28 May 2022.
All eyes will be on five-time winners Toulouse as they look to go back-to-back in Europe for the first time in their illustrious history.
The Top 14 giants won an all-French affair against La Rochelle at Twickenham to make them the most successful club in the competition's history last season.
Elsewhere, can Ronan O'Gara's beaten finalists go one better and how will Exeter Chiefs bounce back after losing both Premiership and Champions Cup crowns in the same year?
Heineken Champions Cup pool fixtures
Round 1 - Weekend of Dec 10/11/12
Friday 10 December:
Northampton Saints vs Racing - 8pm
Saturday 11 December:
Cardiff vs Toulouse - 1pm
Leinster vs Bath - 3.15pm
Bordeaux-Begles vs Leicester Tigers - 4.15pm
Bristol Bears vs Scarlets - 5.30pm
Clermont vs Ulster - 6.30pm
Exeter Chiefs vs Montpellier - 8pm
Sunday 12 December:
Ospreys vs Sale Sharks - 1pm
Connacht vs Stade Francais - 1pm
Wasps vs Munster - 3.15pm
La Rochelle vs Glasgow Warriors - 4.15pm
Castres vs Harlequins - 6.30pm
Round 2 - Weekend of Jan 21/22/23
Friday 17 December:
Ulster vs Northampton Saints - 8pm
Montpellier vs Leinster - 9pm
Saturday 18 December:
Harlequins vs Cardiff - 1pm
Bath vs La Rochelle - 1pm
Sale Sharks vs Clermont - 3.15pm
Racing vs Ospreys - 6.30pm
Glasgow vs Exeter Chiefs - 5.30pm
Munster vs Castres - 8pm
Sunday 19 December:
Scarlets vs Bordeaux - 1pm
Leicester Tigers vs Connacht - 1pm
Toulouse vs Wasps - 4.15pm
Stade Francais vs Bristol Bears - 6.30pm
Round 3 - Weekend of Jan 14/15/16
Friday 14 January:
Cardiff vs Harlequins - 8pm
Castres vs Munster - 9pm
Saturday 15 January:
Wasps vs Toulouse - 1pm
Ospreys vs Racing 92 - 3.15pm
Connacht vs Leicester Tigers - 3.15pm
Exeter vs Glasgow - 5.30pm
La Rochelle vs Bath - 6.30pm
Bristol Bears vs Stade Francais - 8pm
Sunday 16 January:
Leinster vs Montpellier - 1pm
Northampton Saints vs Ulster - 3.15pm
Bordeaux-Begles vs Scarlets - 4.15pm
Clermont vs Sale Sharks - 6.30pm
Round 4 - Weekend of Jan 21/22/23
Friday 21 January:
Harlequins vs Castres - 8pm
Saturday 22 January:
Bath vs Leinster - 1pm
Toulouse vs Cardiff - 2pm
Leicester Tigers vs Bordeaux-Begles - 3.15pm
Ulster vs Clermont - 5.30pm
Scarlets vs Bristol Bears - 5.30pm
Glasgow vs La Rochelle - 8pm
Sunday 23 January:
Sale Sharks vs Ospreys - 1pm
Stade Francais vs Connacht - 2pm
Munster vs Wasps - 3.15pm
Racing 92 vs Northampton - 4.15pm
Montpellier vs Exeter - 6.30pm
How does the pool stage work?
The 24 teams were drawn into two pools of 12, which were then split into four tiers of three clubs.
Each pool sees tier-one sides face tier-four teams, while clubs in tier two play against sides in tier three.
Each pool's tier has three clubs, one each from the Premiership, Pro14 and Top 14, with the tiers determined by domestic standings.
In the pool stage, teams do not face opponents from the same domestic league, meaning a tier-one Premiership club will only play the Pro14 and Top 14 teams in tier four.
The pool stages will start in December, with teams facing each other home and away - and so each playing four games.
What can I expect from BT Sport's rugby coverage?
Every game we broadcast will be available to watch on the BT Sport app and BTSport.com on our enhanced player. With in-built try alerts, it allows you to re-watch key moments with our interactive timeline, meaning you need not miss a single try from what is expected to be an enthralling season.
For an unrivalled viewing experience, selected games will also be available in 4K HDR via BT Sport Ultimate.
For insight, news and analysis from BT Sport’s expert rugby pundits, Rugby Tonight will round up all of the action from the Champions Cup and beyond.
BT Sport is the exclusive live home of domestic and European club rugby and the only place you can watch the Gallagher Premiership, Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup all in one place.