Leinster get Saracens as Champions Cup quarter finals confirmed
Leinster’s reward for winning all six of their pool games and securing No.1 seeding for the knock-out stages is… not great.
Toulouse’s victory over Gloucester knocked the English side out of the Champions Cup and finalised the make-up of the Champions Cup quarter finals. For Leinster and Ulster, two tough tests await.
Saracens’ gripping win at home to Racing 92, having played most of the game with only 14 men after Will Skelton’s sending off, saw them claimed the 8th and final quarter final spot. Gloucester had a final chance to squeeze them out but lost away to the four-time European champions at Stade Ernest Wallon.
That result confirmed Saracens as 8th seeds and they will travel to play Leinster in Dublin in early April. Sarries, who will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the season for salary cap breaches, beat Leinster in last season’s Champions Cup final. Ulster will travel to France to take on Toulouse.
CHAMPIONS CUP QUARTER FINALS
Leinster vs. Saracens
Exeter vs Northampton
Toulouse vs. Ulster
Clermont vs. Racing 92
On Saturday, Leinster secured No.1 seeding by defeating Treviso over in Italy while Ulster were made to work hard for their quarter final-clinching win over Bath at Kingspan Stadium.
Craig Casey and Dave Kilcoyne pictured after Munster beat Ospreys at Thomond Park in Limerick. (Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile)
Earlier on Sunday afternoon, Munster finished their Champions Cup campaign by scoring five tries in a home win over Ospreys at Thomond Park, with Conor Murray getting man-of-the-match and replacement scrumhalf Craig Casey getting a try not long after coming on.
Munster’s fate was sealed on Saturday when Northampton Saints and Glasgow Warriors both won their final pool games on the road. It would have have mattered, regardless, as 14-man Saracens beat Racing 92 to finish second in that undoubted group of death.
Connacht fought back from 21-0 away to Montpellier to lead 29-28 going into the final 10 minutes. A late try from the French side saw them clinch a thriller 35-29. Tough for Andy Friend’s side but signs of life, at least, from the westerners.
Barry Murphy and Jerry Flannery are in the House of Rugby studio reflect on a tough weekend for three of the Irish provinces, lavish more praise on Leinster and look ahead to Andy Farrell naming his first Ireland squad.