Bath Rugby will take on last season’s European finalists La Rochelle and four-time European champions Leinster in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage.
The Blue, Black and White qualified for the tournament by securing a top eight finish in the Gallagher Premiership with a thrilling victory over Northampton Saints on the final day of the season.
Losing out to Toulouse in last year’s final, La Rochelle finished runners-up in TOP 14 last term while Leinster were victorious for the eighth time in the Guinness PRO14.
The pool draw was streamed live on HeinekenChampionsCup.com from Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday 21 July.
Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper’s reaction to the draw
“There is always an air of excitement when it comes to the Heineken Champions Cup draw and we’re thoroughly looking forward to the 2021/22 campaign.
“We were really pleased with our performance on the final day of last season to secure our place in the Champions Cup, and there is no doubt our supporters helped cheer us on to victory that day.
“Not much comes close to the roar of a packed-out Rec and having fans at our European matches will add to that special feeling of facing opponents with recent history in the competition.
Who are our opponents?
Location: La Rochelle, France
Stadium: Stade Marcel-Deflandre
Key Player: Will Skelton
2020/21 TOP 14 finish: Runners-up (lost to Toulouse in the final)
2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup finish: Runners-up (lost to Toulouse in the final)
Ronan O’Gara is building a special culture at La Rochelle which contributed in Les Corsaires reaching the Heineken Champions Cup final last season for the first time. They also progressed to the TOP 14 final too, and although they suffered defeat at the hands of Toulouse twice, they proved a force to be reckoned with, securing impressive European wins over Leinster and Sale Sharks on their way to the 2021 showpiece fixture at Twickenham.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Stadium: RDS Arena/Aviva Stadium
Key Player: Robbie Henshaw
2020/21 PRO 14 finish: Winners
2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup finish: Semi-finals (lost to La Rochelle)
Winning the Heineken Champions Cup three times in four seasons between 2009 and 2012, Leinster have great pedigree in the competition. Their last title came in the 2018 campaign before suffering a loss to Saracens in an epic battle a year later. Leo Cullen’s side also have a heavy focus on doing well in Europe with many high-profile Irish internationals in their side aiding their cause.
Structure of the tournament
The Heineken Champions Cup will once again be competed for by 24 clubs with eight representatives from the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 having secured their places.
The clubs have been divided into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B - by means of a draw and the tournament will be played over nine weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December when Toulouse begin the defence of their title.
The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16 on a home and away basis, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in Marseille on 28 May 2022.
When will we play each team?
The rounds in which we will play La Rochelle and Leinster are yet to be determined by EPCR.
EPCR will begin work on the fixture schedule with an announcement of exact dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage following as soon as practicable.
What we do know is Rounds 1 and 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup will take place in December (weekend of the 10/11/12 and 17/18/19) while Rounds 3 and 4 will be played in January (weekend of the 14/15/16 and 21/22/23).
Ticket and Hospitality information
Matchday ticket information will be confirmed in due course while supporters are now able to join the season ticket waiting list for the 2021/22 season.
Matchday hospitality for Gallagher Premiership matches is now on sale. For Heineken Champions Cup enquiries, please register your interest by clicking below