Search icon


07th May 2024

English media call for major Champions Cup change after Leinster’s Croke Park success

Callum Boyle


Sounds a bit like sour grapes

Members of the English media are calling for change in the Champions Cup following Leinster’s recent Croke Park success against Northampton Saints.

Leinster reached their third successive Champions Cup final in front of a sold-out Croker – which hosted it’s first club game in 15 years – and will face Toulouse in London later this month.

A new Champions Cup record crowd of 82,300 were in attendance to see the victory and while it’s been heralded as a momentous occasion in Irish sport, not all media from around the world are in agreement.

English press demand change

Some sections of the English media have pointed out the flaws to the tournament’s rule book and want change made.

As per the guidelines, all 16 teams who progress from the group stage are ranked, with the top two seeds effectively guaranteed a sort of “home” advantage should they reach the semi-finals. 

In the official rulebook it says the highest-ranked semi-final teams having “home country advantage” as opposed to “home venue advantage” in the early knockout stages.

By saying that, it’s implied that those who reach the semi final shouldn’t be played at the side’s official home ground.

Leinster have of course played semi final games at the Aviva Stadium in recent years – a location where they play many of their regular league games.

But English media have criticised the fact that Leinster and Toulouse (who beat Harlequins) were both allowed to play at their designated “home stadium”.


For example, in The Times, one idea proposed was to have a neutral venue for the semi final.

They said: “[The neutral semi-final weekend] would help to rebalance the tournament, which is stacked heavily in favour of top pool seeds – especially this year’s finalists Leinster and Toulouse, who both played their ‘home country” semi-finals in their own cities against English opponents.”

Meanwhile the Daily Mail added: “Northampton and Harlequins were beaten by Leinster and Toulouse in last weekend’s semi-finals. Those two matches took place at Dublin’s Croke Park and Stadium de Toulouse respectively. That has attracted criticism in some quarters as the two teams who will contest May 25’s final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium both played their last-four matches in their home cities.”

Leinster and Toulouse in the clear

Despite claims that both sides had disregarded the rulebook, official guidelines do not state anywhere that “home advantage” prevent teams from playing in alternate venues in their regular home city. Both Leinster and Toulouse did exactly that.

The two will meet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 25.

Related links:

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?