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Decisive European Pool Fixtures Are Confirmed

Decisive European Pool Fixtures Are Confirmed

The dates and kick-off times for the decisive round 5 and 6 fixtures in the European Rugby Champions Cup have been announced.

With the five pool winners and three best runners-up set to book their places in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals under the new-look tournament format, the January matches are certain to generate even more than the customary high tension and drama associated with Europe’s elite club rugby tournament.

Click here for the round 5 and 6 European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures and TV schedule.

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With four coveted home quarter-final berths up for grabs and with the addition of a third runner-up spot, the exact make-up and ranking of the eight quarter-finalists will not be decided until the final two pool games of the campaign on the Sunday of round 6.

Although no pool runners-up has qualified for the last-eight in the top flight on less than 19 points since bonus points were introduced in the 2003/04 season, that target could well be lower this season as the teams battle it out for the prized spots in the knockout stages.

Of the many matches that stand out over both weekends, the round 5 clash of the unbeaten Pool 4 leaders, Toulouse, and Bath at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday, January 18 takes some beating, while the Saracens v Munster and Harlequins v Wasps games also in round 5 on Saturday, January 17 will guarantee packed houses at both Allianz Park and the Twickenham Stoop respectively.

The round 6 meeting of Northampton Saints and Racing Metro 92 at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, January 24 could well be the Pool 5 decider, and reigning champions Toulon will be looking to secure their qualification from Pool 3 with a difficult away game at the Scarlets on the same day.

With the matches in the same pools kicking off at the same time in round 6, the concluding weekend of the pool stages will sign off with a potentially explosive finish to Pool 1 when Munster take on Sale Sharks at Thomond Park and when Clermont Auvergne go head-to-head with old foes Saracens at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday, January 25.

All 20 games will be televised live by either BT Sport, Sky Sports, beIN Sports, France Télévisions or Sky Italia and the action will get underway on Friday, January 16 with the Pool 3 clash of Leicester Tigers and the Scarlets at Welford Road.

Meanwhile, round 5 of the European Challenge Cup has thrown up its share of crucial matches with the Pool 2 clash of Connacht and Exeter Chiefs – live on Sky Sports at the Sportsground on Sunday, January 18 – a contender for top billing.

Click here for the round 5 and 6 European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures.