The penultimate weekend of the Champions Cup pool stage saw eight teams secure their places in the knockout stage with a game to spare.

There is plenty to play for this weekend with eight more places up for grabs and the top seeds to be determined as the last 16 takes shape.

As ever, BT Sport will show every game from the competition. Read on for previews, team news and live stream details.


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Friday 20 January

Leicester Tigers vs Ospreys: BT Sport 1 & Ultimate, 7.15pm (8pm KO) - Live stream

Life after Steve Borthwick appeared tough at Leicester, but the Premiership champions returned to winning ways with a galvanising bonus-point win at Clermont last week.

They banished memories of successive heavy defeats in the league with an assured display in France to ensure progress to the knockout stage with a game to spare.

In the week Tigers announced former Glasgow Warriors boss Danny Wilson is to join on a part-time basis until the end of the season, they will be targeting a fourth consecutive European triumph before they return to domestic action.

They host an Ospreys side who completed a remarkable double over French champions Montpellier in the last round to keep their qualification hopes alive.

Captain Justin Tipuric was imperious as the Welsh side stunned their illustrious visitors to put themselves on the brink of the last 16.

It has been a remarkable turnaround for Ospreys who lost their Champions Cup opener to Leicester and sat 14th in the United Rugby Championship just weeks ago.

Tigers edged a tight first encounter in Swansea, but Ospreys look re-energised as they target another famous win – this time against the English champions.

Lyon vs Bulls: BT Sport 2, 7.45pm (8pm KO) - Live stream

Winless Lyon also entertain Bulls on Friday, with the South African side looking to seal qualification in their maiden Champions Cup campaign.

They avenged an earlier defeat to Exeter Chiefs last week to move within touching distance of the next round, with Elrigh Louw, David Kriel and Ruan Vermaak all scoring before Wandisile Simelane’s second-half brace.

Chiefs were comfortable winners in the first meeting between the sides at Sandy Park in December, but Bulls exacted revenge in Pretoria after Henry Slade’s red card.

Opponents Lyon are in a precarious position after three successive defeats, including a narrow opening day defeat against Bulls in a thrilling encounter.

Back-to-back defeats to Saracens, including a 48-28 loss at StoneX Stadium last week, have left the Top 14 outfit needing a win to keep their slim hopes alive.

The French side are in the midst torrid run of form with only one win in their last seven in all competitions and require a huge performance to remain in contention.

Saturday 21 January

Harlequins vs Cell C Sharks: BT Sport 2, 12.30pm (1pm KO) - Live stream

Harlequins face South African side Sharks in a colossal clash at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Quins have lost their last four matches in all competitions, including a dramatic late defeat at Racing in Europe last week, but can still progress to the knockouts.

It looked inconceivable that the English side could lose after Racing were reduced to 12 men but Nolann Le Garrec sealed a remarkable victory with a late penalty.

Marcus Smith shone in Paris ahead of the Six Nations on his return to action after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him side-lined for nearly two months.

Sharks became the first South African side to secure a place in the knockouts after easing to a 32-3 victory over Bordeaux-Begles in Durban last week.

They are now focussed on securing top seeding for the last 16 and director of rugby Neil Powell, who will hope to have fly-half Curwin Bosch back for the weekend, insists his side will be gunning for victory.

“We go with momentum and a bit of flow into our next game against Harlequins,” he said. “There is still a lot to play for. We have to get home advantage in the knockout games.”

Northampton Saints vs La Rochelle: BT Sport 3, 12.30pm (1pm KO) - Live stream

A difficult European campaign for Northampton ends with a daunting clash with holders La Rochelle at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints have lost all three matches so far, are bottom of their pool with one bonus points and cannot qualify for the next stage.

They had no answer to a rampant La Rochelle in the first meeting in coastal southwestern France in December and have suffered back-to-back defeats to Munster since.

But it could have been so different for the Premiership side who came agonisingly close to beating the Irish province at Thomond Park last week.

Trailing 24-0 at half-time, they were inspired after the break with tries from Tommy Freeman and James Ramm reducing the deficit. Fin Smith, a surprise inclusion in Steve Borthwick’s first England squad, was also instrumental, kicking 13 points.

They ultimately left themselves too much to do, losing 27-23, but a spirited second-half display will give them confidence ahead of Saturday’s match.

La Rochelle, meanwhile, have won three from three and are through to the knockouts.

Ronan O’Gara’s side scored a converted try with the final play of the game against Ulster last week in challenging conditions to preserve their perfect start and look a good bet to go far in the competition again.

Leinster vs Racing 92: BT Sport 2, 3pm (3.15pm KO) - Live stream

Leinster have been irrepressible in Europe this season, with three successive bonus-point wins sealing a comfortable passage through to the last 16.

The four-time winners booked their spot in the next round by thrashing Gloucester at Kingsholm, weeks after they demolished the Premiership side 57-0 in Dublin.

They also earned an impressive away win over Saturday’s opponents Racing in Le Havre as the Irish side look to put the disappointment of defeat in last year’s final behind them.

Head coach Leo Cullen has confirmed that Will Connors, Thomas Clarkson, Max Deegan, Joe McCarthy and Luke McGrath are all available for selection after returning from injury.

They face a Racing side who currently occupy the last qualification place and are unlikely to progress without beating Leinster.

The French outfit are set to field a star-studded side, complete with the likes of Gael Fickou, Finn Russell and Juan Imhoff, as they look to build last week’s dramatic win over Harlequins.

It promises to be a clash to savour as Leinster look to seal another victory that would ensure home knockout ties all the way to the final in front of over 40,000 supporters at the Aviva.

Bordeaux Begles vs Gloucester: BT Sport 3, 3pm (3.15pm KO) - Live stream

Gloucester are bidding to return to winning ways and progress to the knockouts despite two heavy defeats to Leinster.

The Cherry and Whites are still in contention after their opening victory over Bordeaux in December, sealed by a Charlie Chapman score on a dramatic evening at Kingsholm.

They are in ninth place in Pool A but could feasibly overtake the likes of Harlequins and Racing 92 if they complete the double over Bordeaux and other results go their way.

The two-time Challenge Cup winners haven’t reached the Champions Cup knockouts since 2008 but will be in a strong position should they win at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Winless Bordeaux are on the brink of elimination with only two losing bonus points to show from their three games.

Qualification is not out of the question, but the Top 14 side require a bonus-point victory and a number of favourable other results.

They were soundly beaten by Sharks last week, picking up four yellow cards in a dismal showing in Durban.

Both sides will be desperate to put recent thrashings behind them and clinch a victory that could see them progress.

Exeter Chiefs vs Castres: BT Sport 1 & Ultimate, 5.15pm (5.30pm KO) - Live stream

Already-qualified Exeter host Castres at Sandy Park as the 2020 winners look to seal a home last 16 clash.

They are through despite falling to defeat at Bulls last time out, with Jack Innard’s late bonus-point try in Pretoria proving crucial.

The Premiership side were handed a boost this week when Henry Slade’s red card for a high tackle against Bulls was overturned by a disciplinary panel.

Slade, who was captain last week in Luke Cowan-Dickie’s absence, is free to play immediately in what is also significant news for England and new coach Steve Borthwick before the Six Nations.

With Cowan-Dickie still out with an ankle problem, Innard is likely to continue against Castres with Dan Frost also set to feature.

The club did suffer a setback this week with the news of the departure of longstanding back-row forward Dave Ewers to Ulster at the end of the season.

Castres need a miracle to progress after following up an opening loss to Exeter with back-to-back defeats to Edinburgh, including a 21-34 home loss last Sunday.

Stormers vs Clermont Auvergne: BT Sport 5, 5.30pm (5.30pm KO) - Live stream

Stormers are within touching distance of reaching the knockouts in their first Champions Cup campaign, with the South African side needing just a point to seal qualification.

The Cape Town-based club have adapted well to the European competition, beating London Irish twice after an opening loss to Clermont. They were leading 14-3 at half-time in France in their maiden appearance, before falling to a 24-14 defeat.

They are unbeaten at home for more than a year and head coach John Dobson is looking for his team to continue their remarkable record at the DHL Stadium.

“We were just trying to stay alive in the competition, but now we are in a position to see if we can influence where we are going to play,” he said.

Visitors Clermont sacked head coach Jono Gibbes after a resounding home defeat to Leicester last week, with former Ireland international Jared Payne stepping in on an interim basis.

Former Bordeaux-Begles coach Christophe Urios is reportedly being looked at as a long-term solution, but the three-time Champions Cup runners-up are focussed on the immediate future and sealing a much-needed win on Saturday to keep their hopes alive.

Ulster vs Sale: BT Sport 2, 7.45pm (8pm KO) - Live stream

The make-or-break encounter between Ulster and Sale concludes Saturday’s action as both sides look to progress to the next round.

Ulster are winless from three matches after La Rochelle broke their hearts with a dramatic late try in treacherous conditions in France last week.

They can still qualify with a win over Sale if other results go their way because of their three losing bonus points and the stage is set for a huge night at Kingspan.

“Taking a step back, we are still in a position where we can get in the knockout stages in the league and Champions Cup,” said flanker Nick Timoney. “So, we’ll go into Sale all guns blazing and it will be an exciting home game.”

They will be without injured pair Iain Henderson and Luke Marshall for the decisive meeting, with fly-half Jake Flannery also absent.

Ulster’s losing run began with a resounding defeat at Sale but the Premiership club have lost successive matches to Toulouse since to leave them with work to do.

They started brightly against the French giants last week but lost momentum when Cobus Wiese was sent off and they need a win over Ulster to stand any chance of qualification.

Sunday 22 January

Montpellier vs London Irish: BT Sport 2, 12.30pm (1pm KO) - Live stream

The first of three matches on Sunday sees French champions Montpellier host a London Irish side whose qualification hopes were ended last week.

The Exiles were reduced to 13 men at one stage at Gtech Community Stadium in a 28-14 home defeat to Stormers which left them winless with only point.

Ben Loader and Ciaran Packer were recipients of two of five red cards shown last weekend, prompting director of rugby Declan Kidney to claim, “there is an awful lot of trial by TV”.

They were left to rue another red card in their home defeat to Montpellier in December when they squandered a lead after Agustin Creevy’s dismissal for a high tackle.

It has been a campaign to forget for the Premiership club who are competing in the competition for the first time in more than a decade and they face a side who remain firmly in contention.

Two defeats to Ospreys have dented their hopes but they are seventh with six points and will qualify for the knockouts with a win on Sunday.

Toulouse vs Munster: BT Sport 2, 3pm (3.15pm KO) - Live stream

Stade Ernest-Wallon plays host to an unmissable encounter on Sunday afternoon as Toulouse take on Munster.

The French giants, who are chasing a record sixth title, have won all three games so far, narrowly beating Munster in Ireland before defeating Sale twice.

They lead Pool B with one game remaining and will be targeting a home game in the last 16.

The picture for Munster is less clear. The Irish province could be through before they even play on Sunday but a losing bonus is likely to be enough anyway.

Home and away wins over Northampton have put them in a commanding position, with last week’s tense victory at Thomond Park crucial to their hopes.

Simon Zebo remains unavailable while Roman Salanoa and Jack Crowley could sit out after picking up injuries against Northampton.

“Regardless of what the qualification looks like, we need to go there and win again,” said head coach Graham Rowntree. “One of the toughest places to go in the world and win a game of rugby, and I think we can.”

Edinburgh vs Saracens: BT Sport 2, 5.15pm (5.30pm KO) - Live stream

The Champions Cup weekend concludes in the Scottish capital as Edinburgh and Saracens lock horns at the DAM Health Stadium.

Both sides have already qualified for the knockouts so the focus will be on securing home last-16 matches.

Edinburgh swept aside Castres in the last round to confirm their place in the next round, with Blair Kinghorn kicking 14 points.

Saracens also maintained their winning start with a dominant display against Lyon, helped by Elliott Daly’s first-half hat-trick. The three-time winners were without Owen Farrell who was suspended but were rarely truly troubled by their French visitors.

The sides have already met in the competition this year with the English league leaders running out 30-26 winners in a tight encounter at StoneX Stadium.

Saracens have lost only once all season, excluding the Premiership Rugby Cup, and will be looking to set up a home tie before attention turns back to the Premiership.

The goal is the same for Edinburgh who have only ever reached the knockouts on three occasions.