Leinster and Connacht will both be at home on the opening weekend of the European champion’s cup.
Leinster will facing Bath with Connacht facing Stade Francais. Stade Toulouse begin their European title defence when they travel to face Cardiff Rugby on the weekend of 10/11/12 December.
The Heineken Champions Cup will once again be competed for by 24 elite clubs in two pools of 12 with eight representatives from each of Europe’s leading professional leagues, and last season’s defeated finalists, Stade Rochelais, will open their campaign in Pool A against Glasgow Warriors at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.
Reigning Gallagher Premiership champions, Harlequins, kick-off their quest for a first top-flight European title with a visit to Castres Olympique in Round 1. Three-time champions Leinster will be one of the fancied clubs in this season’s United Rugby Championship (URC), start out at home against old rivals Bath.
Highlights of the back-to-back clashes in Rounds 2 and 3 on the weekends of 17/18/19 December and 14/15/16 January 2022 feature the Pool A matches between Sale Sharks and ASM Clermont Auvergne, and the meetings of Stade Francais Paris and Bristol Bears in Pool B.
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 and semi-finals, with the final in Marseille on 28 May 2022.
A modified Challenge Cup format will see 15 clubs with 10 European titles between them competing in three pools of five.
Three-time finalists, RC Toulon, two-time winners, Gloucester Rugby, and Saracens, will be among the favourites to lift silverware in Marseille later this season, while another former Challenge Cup winner, Biarritz Olympique, make a welcome return to European competition after an absence of seven years.
The exact dates of the pool stage fixtures in both tournaments, as well as kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as possible following further consultation with clubs and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.