RugbyAll you need to know

Champions Cup and Challenge Cup last 16: TV details, kick-off times, team news and more

Everything you need to know about the Irish provinces and their routes to the finals

Who is playing and when is it on?

Leinster are playing Leicester at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, April 6th at 8pm in the last 16 of the Champions Cup, while on Sunday, Munster will play Northampton in Franklin’s Gardens at 12.30pm. At the same time on Sunday as Munster, Ulster play Montpellier in the Challenge Cup at the GGL Stadium. Connacht then play Pau in the same competition in France on Sunday at 5.30pm.

How can I watch it?

You can watch the Leinster game on RTÉ 2 on Saturday, coverage kicks off at 7.30pm. Munster is on UTV and TNT Sports, coverage from 11.50am, while Ulster and Connacht’s games are on Premier Sports.

What are their routes to the final?

Leinster are second seeds, which means it is a home route all the way to final in Tottenham Stadium. Should they beat Leicester, they could face their old nemesis La Rochelle in Dublin in the quarter-finals, although Ronan O’Gara’s team face a tricky away trip to Cape Town to play Stormers. Munster would play Bulls or Lyon away should they beat Northampton, and if they won both matches, they could play Leinster.

On the other side of the draw, the outstanding team is Antoine Dupont’s Toulouse, who are neck and neck with Leinster as favourites for the competition with the bookies, although Bordeaux have a fine team to watch out for also.


In the Challenge Cup, should Ulster beat Montpellier, they would either face a return trip to France to play Clermont Auvergne, or a home game against the Cheetahs. The Sharks are the danger team on their side of the draw, and could potentially face them in South Africa in a semi-final, should they progress. Connacht would play Benetton away or Lions at home, should they win. Gloucester are the top seeds on their side of the draw.

What is the team news for the games?

Hugo Keenan, Andrew Porter and Robbie Henshaw have all overcome injury problems to be named in the Leinster starting XV ahead of the game against Leicester.

However, none of Jimmy O’Brien (neck), Luke McGrath (head) Garry Ringrose (shoulder) or Charlie Ngatai (calf) have been named in the 23 with all four requiring further assessment according to Monday’s injury briefing.

In Ringrose’s absence, Jamie Osborne earns a first European start since last year’s away victory over Gloucester as he lines out at centre alongside Henshaw. Elsewhere in the backline, Ross Byrne has been given the nod to start at outhalf over his brother, Harry, and Ciarán Frawley, both of whom are on the bench. Jamison Gibson-Park partners him at halfback.

Leinster: H Keenan; J Larmour, R Henshaw, J Osborne, J Lowe; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, D Sheehan, T Furlong; R Molony, J McCarthy; R Baird, J van der Flier, C Doris.

Replacements: R Kelleher, C Healy, M Ala’alatoa, J Jenkins, J Conan, B Murphy, H Byrne, C Frawley.

Leicester Tigers: J Shillock; F Steward, D Kelly, S Kata, O Hassell-Collins; H Pollard, J van Poortvliet; J Cronin, J Montoya (capt), D Cole; H Wells, K Hatherell; H Liebenberg, O Cracknell, J Wiese.

Replacements: C Clare, F van Wyk, W Hurd, F Carnduff, E Ilione, T Whiteley, P Cokanasiga, M Brown.

Meanwhile for Munster, Shane Daly picked up a knock at training yesterday and has been ruled out with Seán O’Brien coming into the side on the right wing as Simon Zebo moves to the left wing.

Academy winger Shay McCarthy joins the squad as a replacement. RG Snyman has been ruled out by the medical team due to illness. Tom Ahern comes into the starting XV to partner captain Tadhg Beirne in the second row.

Jack O’Donoghue joins the squad as a replacement.

Northampton Saints: J Ramm; T Freeman, F Dingwall, B Odendaal, O Sleightholme; F Smith, T James; E Iyogun, C Langdon, T Davison; A Moon, A Coles; C Lawes, L Ludlam (capt), S Graham.

Replacements: S Matavesi, A Waller, P Hill, T Mayanavanua, A Scott-Young, J Augustus, A Mitchell, G Hendy.

Munster: Mike Haley; Seán O’Brien, Antoine Frisch, Alex Nankivell, Simon Zebo; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Tom Ahern, Tadhg Beirne (capt); Peter O’Mahony, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Eoghan Clarke, Josh Wycherley, Mark Donnelly, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Shay McCarthy.

Connacht welcome back Bundee Aki and Finlay Bealham for the first time since the Six Nations ahead of their Challenge Cup trip to take on Pau.

Scrumhalf Caolin Blade also returns having missed last week’s defeat to Benetton through injury. Jarrad Butler is reinstated to the starting line-up as he starts at number eight.

Pau: J Maddocks; T Carol, E Roudil, J Vatubua, A Tuimaba; J Simmonds, D Robson; Z Fisi’ihoi, Y Delhommel, S Tokolahi; G Ducat, L Tagitagivalu; M Puech (capt), T Hamonou, S Zegueur.

Replacements: L Rey, H Parrou, G Papidze, S Cummins, F Metz, R Hewat, T Daubagna, A Desperes.

Connacht: T O’Halloran; S Bolton, D Hawkshaw, B Aki, S Jennings; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, D Heffernan, F Bealham; J Joyce, N Murray; C Prendergast, S Hurley-Langton, J Butler.

Replacements: E de Buitléar, J Duggan, S Illo, D Murray, C Oliver, M Devine, JJ Hanrahan, T Farrell.

Ulster, the other Irish province in Challenge Cup action, have captain Iain Henderson fit and back in the fold ahead of their trip to Montpellier. Alan O’Connor is also back in the starting line-up to join his long-time secondrow partner in the starting XV.

The only other change to the side that lost to the Stormers last week sees Stewart Moore line out at fullback in place of the injured Mikey Lowry.

Montpellier: A de Nardi; G N’Gandebe, G Bridge, A Cadot, B Lam; L Foursans-Bourdette, A Eymeri; G Fichten, C Tolofua, H Williams; F Verhaeghe, P Willemse (capt); A Becognee, C Doumenc, S Simmonds.

Replacements: V Karkadze, B Erdocio, L Macharashvili, T DuGuid, Y Camara, L Carbonel, M Dakuwaqa, P Lucas

Ulster: S Moore; R Baloucoune, J Hume, S McCloskey, E McIlroy; N Doak, J Cooney; S Kitshoff, R Herring, T O’Toole; A O’Connor, I Henderson (capt), M Rea, D McCann, N Timoney.

Replacements: T Stewart, A Warwick, S Wilson, H Sheridan, C Izuchukwu, J Flannery, J Stockdale, D Ewers.

How are their opponents doing?

Northampton are top of the English Premiership and beat Munster in their last game in the Champions Cup, despite being down to 14 men and away from home. They have won 10 of their 14 games domestically, it will be a tough task for Munster to get revenge on their January defeat. It has not been a year of such success for Leicester, who are seventh in the Premiership table. Of the Challenge Cup opponents, Pau are mid-table in the Top 14 in France, faring better than Montpellier, who are 13th.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times