European Professional Club Rugby | Anticipation builds as Heineken Champions Cup returns

The 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup’s knockout stage gets underway this weekend with the opening ties of the two-legged Round of 16, and there is a plethora of enticing matchups on the schedule.

As always, every single minute of action will be shown live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS, starting with Friday night’s thrilling contest between two Irish provincial rivals.

Connacht Rugby host Leinster Rugby at The Sportsgrounds in a 20:00 (all UK and Irish time) kick-off as Leinster target a fifth European title.

Five games follow on Saturday starting with an all-Gallagher Premiership tie between Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears – the game is free-to-air in the UK on Channel 4 and is also available on Virgin Media at 1pm.

At the same time (13:00) in France, Union Bordeaux-Bègles and Stade Rochelais do battle at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in an all-TOP 14 contest.

Heineken Champions Cup holder Stade Toulousain get their Round of 16 tie with Ulster Rugby underway at 15:15 as the two European rivals meet for a 12th time on the grandest stage.

At 17:30 Exeter Chiefs host Munster Rugby at Sandy Park in a battle of former champions – Exeter the 2020 winners, Munster a two-time winner with wins in 2006 and 2008.

Also at 17:30, Stade Français Paris and Racing 92 collide once more at the Stade Jean Bouin – a week after the sides met in the Top 14. Racing 92 topped Pool A with four wins from four and will be eager to maintain their form into the knockout stage.

Two games follow on Sunday as Montpellier Hérault Rugby and ASM Clermont Auvergne host Gallagher Premiership opposition in the form of Harlequins and Leicester Tigers respectively.

Montpellier host Harlequins at 13:00 at GGL Stadium as the Gallagher Premiership champions go in search of a country Heineken Champions Cup title.

Leicester, who topped Pool B, travel to the Stade Marcel-Michelin to take on Clermont in a 15:15 kick-off in the final game of this weekend’s slate.

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