Rugby Union Today: European dates and Greatest rugby sides

Date published: September 16 2020

Another busy day in the rugby union game as the EPCR announced the times and dates for the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals.

What’s on the site

Both the Champions Cup semi-finals will take place on September 26 after EPCR confirmed the times and dates for the last-four contests. The first game will see Leinster or Saracens face Clermont Auvergne or Racing 92 at 13:00 BST, with the second tie taking place at 15:30 BST.

Sarries are the current defending champions after claiming their third title in four years by defeating Leo Cullen’s Dubliners in Newcastle in May 2019. It effectively marked the end of their dynasty following their relegation for salary cap breaches and we delved into their story in ‘Greatest rugby sides.’

Meanwhile, positivity is finally emanating out of South African rugby with the confirmation that on-field action will return later this month. It begins with a double-header as the Bulls take on the Sharks and the Lions face the Stormers, before there is an intriguing battle called ‘Springbok Showdown.’ Two teams, Springbok Green and Springbok Gold, will go head-to-head at Newlands on Saturday, October 3.

What’s in the news

Alex Goode says that he is ready to step into Owen Farrell’s shoes should he be required at fly-half for their Champions Cup encounter against Leinster on Saturday. Goode is competing with youngster Manu Vunipola for a starting spot at pivot and the former England international insists that he will relish the opportunity should Mark McCall select him in the XV.

Elsewhere, All Blacks head coach Ian Foster believes that the world rankings should be suspended in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Continuing with the system would perhaps harm South Africa, who have yet to commit to playing in the Rugby Championship.

Finally, Premiership newcomers Newcastle Falcons have added international experience to their ranks by signing one-time capped Springbok Louis Schreuder. The scrum-half will join the club ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season.

What’s on social media

Sale Sharks have received a blow to their plans to build a new stadium.

What’s on TV

After an eight-month break, the biggest competition in Europe returns. BT Sport will show all four ties in the Champions Cup with Leinster’s clash against Saracens the highlight of the weekend.

Elsewhere, Super Rugby AU concludes on Saturday as the Brumbies take on the Reds in Canberra. That game will be shown on Sky Sports, a channel which also has all the Mitre 10 Cup action.