Leinster and Munster will contest Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals for a third year in a row, with EPCR today confirming the dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage details for the provinces’ respective last-four clashes with Toulouse and Saracens.
Following a thrilling weekend of knockout rugby in Europe’s top tier tournament, Irish Rugby will once again be represented by defending champions Leinster and Munster at the semi-final stage. It is a record 14th semi-final in 18 knockout stage appearances for Munster, who had a crucial try double from man-of-the-match Keith Earls against Edinburgh.
The Munstermen are on the road again, kicking off the semi-final weekend with a trip to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry to play Saracens on Easter Saturday (April 20) (kick-off 3pm). It is a repeat of the 2017 semi-final which Sarries won 26-10 at the Aviva Stadium but, in a good omen, Munster were 18-16 winners of the sides’ 2008 encounter at the same venue on the way to winning their last European title.
With interest high at both home and abroad, Johann van Graan’s charges are sure to be backed by another large and vocal band of travelling supporters. Acknowledging the fans’ efforts at BT Murrayfield, CJ Stander said: “It doesn’t matter where we play, it feels like we are playing at home and we really enjoy that as a team.
“You could see the sea of red today again – it really lifts your spirits and sometimes when the going is tough, you can hear ‘Munster, Munster, Munster’ coming through. It lifts you for sure and gives that 10% sometimes that you need. The fans came through again today.”
The Easter Sunday showdown will be Leinster’s third tussle of the season with Toulouse – it was one win apiece during the Pool 1 campaign. Leo Cullen’s men lost a closely-fought encounter 28-27 at Stade Ernest Wallon in October before gaining revenge with a well-judged 29-13 victory at the RDS in round 5.
Leinster, the conquerors of Ulster in yesterday’s engrossing interprovincial derby, have played fellow four-time champions Toulouse in three previous knockout matches, including the 2011 semi-final at the Aviva Stadium when current captain Jonathan Sexton kicked 22 points in a 32-23 triumph. Cullen was skipper that year as they added a second star to their jersey.
Ticketing information for Saracens v Munster has been released – click here to find out how to get tickets. You can email email@example.com for further assistance. Details on tickets for Leinster v Toulouse will be announced shortly.
2018/19 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP SEMI-FINALS:
Saturday, April 20 –
Saracens v MUNSTER, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, 3pm (live BT Sport/beIN Sports)
Sunday, April 21 –
LEINSTER v Toulouse, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 3.15pm (live Virgin Media One/Channel 4/BT Sport/FR2/beIN Sports)
FINAL: Saturday, May 11, St. James’ Park, Newcastle, kick-off 5pm