Investec Champions Cup last 16: Saracens play Bordeaux, Northampton host Munster, Leicester face Leinster

Saracens will aim to get revenge for their record European defeat when they return to Bordeaux Begles in the Investec Champions Cup last 16.

The Premiership champions were thrashed 55-15 by Bordeaux in the pool stage.

Northampton Saints also face Munster again, having beaten them on Saturday after being reduced to 14 men.

There is an all Premiership fixture as Exeter Chiefs host Bath, while Harlequins host Glasgow Warriors and Leicester travel to Leinster.

The Irish province, runners-up over the past two seasons, finished their pool stage with a bonus-point win over the Tigers.

Defending champions La Rochelle sealed their spot in the knockouts on Sunday following a convincing victory over Sale in Manchester; they will travel to South Africa to play the Stormers.

This is another repeat fixture as the sides met in the second round, with the Stormers winning thanks to an injury-time Manie Libbok conversion.

There is also an all-French match-up as top seed Toulouse host Racing 92 after victory over Cardiff for the Paris outfit seized a spot in the last 16.

South African side Bulls, who beat Bordeaux and Saracens in the pool stages, host Lyon – who beat them 29-28 in round two.

The competition will resume after this year’s Six Nations with the final being held in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 25 May.

Last-16 fixtures

(1) Toulouse v Racing 92 (16)

(2) Leinster v Leicester Tigers (15)

(3) Northampton v Munster (14)

(4) Bordeaux Begles v Saracens (13)

(5) Harlequins v Glasgow Warriors (12)

(6) Bulls v Lyon (11)

(7) Stormers v La Rochelle (10)

(8) Exeter Chiefs v Bath (9)

Seedings in brackets

Analysis

BBC rugby union correspondent Chris Jones

Ever since losing a weekend from the calendar (eight rather than nine), the Champions Cup has struggled to land on the perfect format, given they can no longer have six rounds of pool action and three knockout rounds.

The current format – four pool rounds and four knockouts – feels a big improvement on recent years and the messy two pools of 12, but for many supporters a last 16 with a number of repeat match-ups from the group stage is not ideal.

On the flip-side, there is the compelling narrative of Munster looking to avenge their home defeat by Northampton, and Saracens looking to overturn their drubbing in Bordeaux when they return to the south-west of France.

Harlequins against Glasgow is a juicy Anglo-Scottish tie, while the all-Premiership clash between Exeter and Bath is an intriguing match-up.

Meanwhile, La Rochelle will have to do what no-one has done before, and win in South Africa if they are to retain their title.

Having a high rank from the pool stages is absolutely crucial. It means Leinster and Toulouse could end up being at home in the last 16, quarter-finals, as well as having home country advantage in the semi-finals.

Potential quarter-finals

The quarter-finals could see last year’s finalists La Rochelle and Leinster meet again, if both sides come through their last-16 fixtures.

The winner of Toulouse and Racing will face the winner of Exeter against Bath.

Harlequins would play London rivals Saracens at home if they both win their last-16 ties, but Quins would have to travel to France if Bordeaux beat Saracens.

The winner of Northampton against Munster will face the winner of Bulls v Lyon.

The highest-seeded side will have home advantage.

Sale, Ulster, Connacht and Bayonne drop into Challenge Cup

Sale’s defeat against La Rochelle means they drop into the Challenge Cup. Irish provinces Ulster and Connacht also go into the second tier after finishing fifth in their pool. Despite victory over Exeter in their final pool game, Champions Cup debutants Bayonne also fall into the Challenge Cup.

  • Who plays who in the Challenge Cup knockouts?

Bristol, Cardiff, Toulon and Stade out of Europe

After finishing bottom of their respective pools Bristol Bears, Cardiff, Toulon and Stade Francais are all out of Europe completely until next season.

Key dates

Last 16 – 5/6/7 April

Quarter-finals – 12/13/14 April

Semi-finals – 3/4/5 May

Final – 25 May

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *