Form guide: How every Investec Champions Cup last-16 club has fared recently

Jared Wright
Investec Champions Cup round of 16.

Investec Champions Cup round of 16.

The Investec Champions Cup returns this weekend, with the round of 16 taking centre stage as the race to the title heats up.

The tournament has been on pause since January 21, and with that in mind, we recap the form of the 16 clubs vying for a place in the competition’s quarter-finals.

Harlequins v Glasgow Warriors

Harlequins host Glasgow Warriors on Friday evening. The Londoners head into the clash after a narrow and controversial win over Bath in the Premiership, which was in response to a 52-7 thrashing by Saracens.

Quins did play two friendly matches during the Six Nations, but prior to that, they finished the Investec Champions Cup pool stages with wins over Cardiff and Ulster but lost 20-19 to Leicester Tigers.

As for the Franco Smith-led Glasgow Warriors, they head into the play-off match in fine form in the United Rugby Championship (URC). After securing passage into the knockouts, beating Toulon in their final pool match, they saw off the Dragons (40-7), Benetton (19-9) and Cardiff (17-13).

Last weekend, Smith’s charges impressed with a seven-try, 45-3 victory over the Scarlets.

Harlequins form: WWLLW
Glasgow Warriors form: WWWWW

Bulls v Lyon

Jake White’s Bulls got the year off to a fantastic start, winning their first six fixtures of 2024.

They kicked off the new year with back-to-back Investec Champions Cup pool stage wins, defeating Bristol Bears (31-17) and Bordeaux (46-40).

Successive wins over Juskei rivals, the Lions, followed those Investec Champions Cup wins before the Bulls finally ended a seven-game losing streak to North-South rivals, the Stormers, in the URC. White’s charges swept the Dragons aside with a 31-10 win but head into the clash with Top 14 outfit Lyon following their first loss of the year. In a top-of-the-table game against Leinster, the Bulls were comprehensively defeated 47-14.

As for Lyon, they have enjoyed a strong run of home Top 14 victories but have struggled on the road. In fact, they have won their last seven home league games and have lost just once at their ground in the entire season of that competition. However, away from home they are yet to win a Top 14 match.

They recently defeated Oyonnax (43-26), Castres (34-19) and Bordeaux (27-10) at home in the Top 14 but have lost to Bayonne (40-10) and Stade Francais (22-13).

Bulls form: WWWWL
Lyon form: WLWLW

Stormers v La Rochelle

The Stormers and La Rochelle face off in Cape Town for a second time this season after the hosts claimed a 21-20 victory in December thanks to a clutch kick from Manie Libbok.

John Dobson’s side also edged Sale Sharks and Stade Francais in the latter stages of the Champions Cup to secure their place in the knockout stages in what was a strong start to the year.

Returning to the URC, the Stormers edged coastal rivals, the Sharks (25-21), in Durban but were beaten 40-22 by the Bulls in mid-February. They were quick to bounce back from that defeat, claiming home wins over Edinburgh (43-21) and Ulster (13-7).

Like many of the French clubs, La Rochelle have claimed wins at home but have been less successful on the road. Ronan O’Gara’s side have lost their last four away games in the Top 14, more recently going down to Toulon (25-23), Lyon (28-17), Perpignan (27-25) and Bayonne (13-12).

However, they have been excellent at home, defeating Clermont (42-3), Stade Francais (23-3) and Oyonnax (40-21).

Stormers form: WWLWW
La Rochelle form: LWWLW

Exeter Chiefs v Bath

It’s been a mixed bag of results for Rob Baxter’s side. They beat Glasgow Warriors (19-17) but lost to Bayonne (40-17) in their final Investec Champions Cup pool stage matches.

On their return to the Premiership, they were hammered 40-22 by Saracens and beat Newcastle Falcons 25-16. They head into the last-16 clash against Bath off the back of a 41-5 hiding at the hands of Sale Sharks.

Johann van Graan’s Bath side ended their Investec Champions Cup pool stage with successive matches against French Top 14 sides and while they defeated Racing 92 (29-25), they were beaten 31-19 a week later by Toulouse.

On their return to the Premiership, Bath won just one of their three fixtures, losing 57-44 to Bristol Bears, but defeated Sale 42-24 in March. A controversial end to their most recent Premiership match saw Bath lose 40-36 to Harlequins.

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Exeter Chiefs form: WLLWL
Bath form: WLLWL

Bordeaux v Saracens

It has been particularly challenging for Top 14 clubs on the road this season and that has been true for Bordeaux too.

Yannick Bru’s charges recently defeated Racing 92 (21-5) and Toulouse (31-28) at home but have lost away to Castres (41-12), Montpellier (10-3) and Lyon (27-10).

This will be the second time that the two sides face off this season with Bordeaux claiming a 55-15 victory in the pool stages of the Investec Champions Cup but Saracens bounced back a week later to defeat Lyon (39-24).

Mark McCall’s side beat Exeter Chiefs (40-22) in their last Premiership match before the Six Nations and squared off against Leinster in a friendly, which they won 31-19.

In the last fortnight, Saracens stunned London rivals Harlequins as they ran out 52-7 victors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but were unable to back that up against Premiership table toppers Northampton Saints, losing 41-30.

Bordeaux form: LWLWL
Saracens form: LWWWL

Leinster v Leicester Tigers

Leinster host Leicester Tigers at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, with the pair having faced off in the pool stages at Welford Road. That day, Leinster emerged 27-10 victors, and the Irish province haven’t lost a competitive match since.

On their return to the URC, Leinster claimed a 47-18 win over Benetton, a 33-20 victory over Cardiff and breezed past Zebre Parma with a 31-7 win.

In their last match before the return of the Investec Champions Cup, Leinster squared off against the Bulls in a top-of-the-table URC clash where they outperformed White’s side, securing a 47-14 win.

Since that loss to Leinster, Leicester Tigers bounced back to beat Harlequins 20-19 in the Premiership but fell to back-to-back defeats to Gloucester, once in the Premiership and the other in the Premiership Rugby Cup final.

The Tigers eked out a 19-13 win over Newcastle Falcons in a 100-minute thriller before this week’s knockout match.

Leinster form: WWWWW
Leicester Tigers form: LLWLW

Northampton Saints v Munster

The last-16 clash between Northampton Saints and Munster is another fixture that sees two pool stage opponents face off in the knockouts.

Last time out, it was the Saints who emerged victorious, beating Munster 26-23, and that came after a 61-14 win over Bayonne. On their return to the Premiership, before the Six Nations, Saints claimed a comfortable 38-13 win over Newcastle Falcons. After the Six Nations, they started slowly, losing 52-21 to Bristol Bears, but recovered quickly, claiming a statement 41-30 over a red-hot Saracens outfit.

As for Munster, they are another team who have hosted friendly matches during the Six Nations, defeating the Crusaders 21-19 and Harlequins 43-35.

After that loss to Northampton, Munster have enjoyed a winning streak, beating the Scarlets (42-7), Zebre Parma (45-29), Ospreys (27-17) and Cardiff (20-15).

Northampton Saints form: WWWLW
Munster form: LWWWW

Toulouse v Racing 92

Ugo Mola’s side have won three of their last five matches and like their fellow Top 14 clubs, they have struggled for wins away from home. Toulouse did defeat Clermont 37-33 at the Stade Marcel-Michelin and backed that up with a 33-6 victory over rivals Castres.

Those two wins were followed by successive defeats, falling 27-17 to Perpignan and 31-28 to Bordeaux in a thrilling encounter. This past weekend, a late Matthis Lebel try secured a hard-fought 31-29 win over Pau.

Similarly, Racing 92 have won three of their last five matches in the Top 14 but Stuart Lancaster’s side have struggled at home this year. In late January, they lost 27-20 to Toulouse at home with Montpellier and Stade Francais winning at the París La Défense Arena.

After that 27-11 loss to Stade Francais, Lancaster’s charges lost to Bordeaux (21-5), beat Toulon (20-6), edged Castres (21-23) and beat Clermont (26-10).

Toulouse form: WWLLW
Racing 92 form: LLWWW

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