Four potential Champions Cup opponents for Saints
Saints will meet French and Irish opposition in next season's Heineken Champions Cup.
Chris Boyd's team will face either Ulster or Connacht and one of Racing 92 and Bordeaux Begles in the pool stages.
Following the conclusion of the domestic seasons in England and France, EPCR confirmed the format and qualifiers for the 2021/22 Champions Cup on Monday morning.
Europe’s elite club tournament is set to return with a schedule of 71 matches.
The Champions Cup will once again involve 24 clubs with eight representatives from the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 having secured their places.
The clubs will be 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 Stade Toulousain 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 May 28, 2022.
The draw for the pools will be carried out on the same lines as last season with the clubs separated into four tiers, and clubs from the same league in the same tier will not be drawn into the same pool.
The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from each league will be in Tier 1, the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs will be in Tier 2, the number 5 and 6 ranked clubs will be in Tier 3, and the number 7 and number 8 ranked clubs will be Tier 4.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage, as will the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.
The pool draw will be live streamed on HeinekenChampionsCup.com and the date of the event as well as further details will be communicated shortly.
2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup qualifiers
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Harlequins, 2 Exeter Chiefs, 3 Bristol Bears, 4 Sale Sharks, 5 Saints, 6 Leicester Tigers, 7 Bath Rugby, 8 Wasps
Guinness PRO14: 1 Leinster Rugby, 2 Munster Rugby, 3 Ulster Rugby, 4 Connacht Rugby, 5 Scarlets, 6 Ospreys, 7 Cardiff Rugby, 8 Glasgow Warriors
TOP 14: 1 Stade Toulousain, 2 Stade Rochelais, 3 Racing 92, 4 Union Bordeaux-Bègles, 5 ASM Clermont Auvergne, 6 Stade Français Paris, 7 Castres Olympique, 8 Montpellier Hérault Rugby
2021/22 key dates
Round 1 – December 10/11/12
Round 2 – December 17/18/19
Round 3 – January 14/15/16
Round 4 – January 21/22/23
Round of 16 (1st leg) – April 8/9/10
Round of 16 (2nd leg) – April 15/16/17
Quarter-finals – May 6/7/8
Semi-finals – May 13/14/15
Challenge Cup final – Friday, May 27, 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday May 28. 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille