La Rochelle to face Leinster in Round One of Champions Cup as pool schedule announced

Adam Kyriacou
Gregory Alldritt for La Rochelle

La Rochelle number eight Gregory Alldritt against Leinster.

Tournament holders La Rochelle will kick off their title defence in 2023/24 against last season’s runner-up Leinster in a thrilling Round One clash.

In what promises to be another monumental game between two of the world’s most powerful clubs, the excellent pair will face off on Sunday, December 10.

The Pool 4 game will take place at Stade Marcel Deflandre as the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup pool fixture dates, venues and kick-offs are released.

Tough start for La Rochelle

La Rochelle’s start to the campaign doesn’t get any easier as they then head to Cape Town to face the Stormers in Round Two, before hosting Leicester.

The champions conclude their pool stage schedule against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday, January 21, which will be televised live on ITV.

Premiership winners, Saracens, begin in Pretoria against the Bulls in Round One on Saturday, December 9, before Round Two sees them at home to Connacht. Saracens will then travel to Stade Chaban Delmas to tackle Bordeaux-Begles in Round Three before finishing their pool campaign against Lyon on home soil.

Click for the fixtures in full

Two-time tournament winners and last season’s United Rugby Championship champions, Munster, play at Thomond Park for their Round One and Round Four showdowns against newcomers, Bayonne, and Northampton Saints respectively. They will be on the road in Rounds Two and Three at Exeter Chiefs and Toulon.

Elsewhere, Top 14 champions Toulouse kick off their Pool 2 campaign at Stade Ernest Wallon against Cardiff on Saturday, December 9 before travelling to Harlequins in Round Two and then Ulster in Round Three. The five-time Champions Cup winners wrap up their pool stage schedule at home to Bath in Round 4.

Leinster, tournament runners-up in the past two seasons, will play at home in Rounds Two and Three against Sale Sharks and Stade Francais respectively, with either the RDS Arena or the Aviva Stadium to be confirmed as venues in the ultra-competitive Pool 4, and they will hope to book their place in the knockout stage once again when they travel to take on their old rivals, Leicester Tigers, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in their fourth game on Saturday, January 20.

Hugely excited over fixtures

EPCR Chairman, Dominic McKay, said: “We are delighted to announce the details of EPCR’s 2023/24 tournament pool stage fixtures five months before the tournaments get under way again in December.

“This has been a collaborative process and we thank the clubs, leagues and our broadcast partners for their assistance in finalising the schedule in such a short period of time.

“We know the fans will be hugely excited about the fixtures and they are now able to plan their weekends well in advance. There are some intriguing clashes in the pool stages with world-class rugby for all to see.”

Champions Cup Round One fixtures

Friday

Glasgow Warriors v Northampton Saints
Connacht v Bordeaux-Bègles

Saturday

Toulon v Exeter Chiefs
Bath v Ulster
Toulouse v Cardiff
Munster v Bayonne
Bulls v Saracens
Bristol Bears v Lyon

Sunday

Sale Sharks v Stade Français
Leicester Tigers v Stormers
La Rochelle v Leinster
Racing 92 v Harlequins

Round Two fixtures

Friday

Northampton Saints v Toulon
Bayonne v Glasgow Warriors

Saturday

Saracens v Connacht
Stormers v La Rochelle
Bordeaux-Bègles v Bristol Bears
Leinster v Sale Sharks
Lyon v Bulls
Ulster v Racing 92
Cardiff v Bath

Sunday

Exeter Chiefs v Munster
Harlequins v Toulouse
Stade Français v Leicester Tigers

Round Three fixtures

Friday

Northamtpon Saints v Bayonne

Saturday

Exeter Chiefs v Glasgow Warriors
Lyon v Connacht
Bristol Bears v Bulls
Toulon v Munster
Leinster v Stade Français
Stormers v Sale Sharks
Ulster v Toulouse
Cardiff v Harlequins

Sunday

Bath v Racing 92
La Rochelle v Leicester Tigers
Bordeaux-Bègles v Saracens

Round Four fixtures

Friday

Glasgow Warriors v Toulon
Connacht v Bristol Bears

Saturday

Harlequins v Ulster
Bulls v Bordeaux-Bègles
Leicester Tigers v Leinster
Racing 92 v Cardiff
Munster v Northampton Saints
Stade Français v Stormers
Saracens v Lyon

Sunday

Sale Sharks v Lyon
Toulouse v Bath
Bayonne v Exeter Chiefs

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