Originally supposed to be held in the Stade Velodrome, the 2020 European Cup Final will no longer be held in Marseille. The organisers have decided the final, which is set to take place on Saturday October 17th, will now take place at a different veue which is to be determined. Marseille will now host the 2021 final, with the 2022 final being held in London at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The 2020 Champions Cup Quarter Finals will be held between September 18 – 20th, with the semi-finals taking place over the weekend of 25 – 27th. Next seasons European Cup is set to begin on the weekend of December 11 – 13th.
All 4 Irish Provinces Still In With A Chance Of Qualifying
Sitting in the Aviva Stadium at full time on Saturday, I wondered could anybody stop Leinster, and would we see an unprecedented 4 Irish provinces in the Quarter Finals of the Heineken Cup. Both of those questions could be answered with a “Yeah, but probably not”.
Leinster look far too strong after becoming the first side to reach this seasons quarter finals, and despite missing Johnny Sexton (more on him later) Northampton never got a look in. The best squad depth in Europe makes them favorites to lift both the Pro 14 and the Heineken Cup. However it’s not as inevitable as the first 11 games of the season have made it look. Leinster looked unstoppable at times during the last two seasons, and still only narrowly won the final in 2018, and were close but still very much second best last season against Saracens.
But every test this season has been past. Trips to the French and English league leaders resulted in wins, and in the Pro 14 games away to Glasgow and Connacht were not as close as would have been anticipated. For every game where fans may have felt things would be tricky, Leinster have over come it, mostly in style. Friday at the RDS offers a difficult test against a resurgent Ulster, but Leinster will still be favorites.
This week on Provincial Jazz, we spoke with Ulster Rugby Lad Perter Lockhart and Ulster fan Andrew Moffett. They raised the point that for Ulster to beat Leinster they have to keep the ball and refrain from kicking away possession. I’d add to that they have to be the most frustrating side Leinster have faced this season. They nearly beat Leinster in last seasons European Cup Quarter Final because they didn’t allow the boys in blue they play how they wanted to. Ulster have shown quality in their pool and look good to qualify. Their other aim should be securing a home quarter final in the league. Ulster are very much not the finished article yet, but they still have a lot of quality.
As for Connacht. Grit and Fight. That’s all you can say about how they finished their game against Gloucester. They showed a lot of grit and a lot of fight. They still have a lot to do to qualify from their pool, but they’ve kept themselves alive. They need depth, but have done great in securing the signature of their big names.
For Munster, they can always pull something off in Europe, but it’s tricky. Assuming they pick up 5 points against Ospreys, they need to beat Racing 92 away to top the pool. If they take a single point they’ll have 17 points, which could be enough to get through the as a best runner-up, but a lot will depend on where Saracens focus lies, and possibly favors from other teams.
The other news this week comes from the Ireland camp. Sexton is included despite his injury, but their are rumors he is wanted by Lyon. Could the fly-half be on the move if he is no longer first choice for Ireland? And then there’s Rob Kearney, is his Ireland career over? And if so,, could he be on the move?
After this week who do you think has put their hand up for selection? Surely Cooney, Ringrose, and Larmour have to be there now. Let us know, @PostToPostSport on Twitter.
The latest edition of our weekly Rugby Podcast Provincial Jazz is out now.