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Postponed Champions Cup ties won't be rescheduled, as Leinster's 28-0 loss to Montpellier remains

Five postponed Champions Cup fixtures and two Challenge Cup games have been recorded as 0-0 draws.

A view of the Heineken Champions cup trophy.
A view of the Heineken Champions cup trophy.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE POSTPONED FIXTURES in round two of this season’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will not be replayed, EPCR have confirmed, with the games instead being recorded as 0-0 draws.

EPCR have also stated that earlier decisions surrounding games postponed due to Covid-19 will remain in place, meaning the 28-0 bonus-point win awarded to Montpellier after their round two home game against Leinster was cancelled still stands.

It had been hoped that five Champions Cup and two Challenge Cup fixtures postponed last month due to increased travel restrictions between France and the UK would be rescheduled.

However given the limited space to work with in an already packed fixture calendar, EPCR have now decided to mark those fixtures as 0-0 draws, with each team awarded two points.

EPCR stated that a distinction should be made between those round two games and the earlier postponed fixtures, such as the Montpellier v Leinster tie, which was cancelled following Covid-19 outbreaks in both camps. 

“A distinction should be drawn between the decisions in respect of the seven round two matches in question and other tournament fixtures which were previously cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreaks or forced isolations affecting player availability,” an EPCR statement read.

Those previously cancelled fixtures could not have been played as scheduled under any circumstances, whereas the clubs involved in the round two matches in question were all cleared and available to contest the matches.

“Therefore, the determined outcomes of the three previously cancelled or forfeited Heineken Champions Cup fixtures, and the one EPCR Challenge Cup fixture, will stand.”

Leinster had looked to appeal the decision to award Montpellier a 28-0 win, given the province had enough players available to fulfil the fixture. However today’s announcement appears to kill any hopes of Leinster overturning that decision, as they prepare to welcome the Top 14 side to the RDS this weekend

In a detailed statement, EPCR outlined how they came to the conclusion to mark the affected round two games as 0-0 draws.

“Following a series of meetings of the Board of EPCR, it has been regrettably decided to cancel the postponed fixtures in round two of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup,” the statement read.

“The Board has also authorised the EPCR Executive to determine the outcome of the fixtures as provided for in the rules of the tournaments and the EPCR Executive has decided that the appropriate solution is to record the results in each of the five Heineken Champions Cup and the two EPCR Challenge Cup fixtures in question as 0-0 draws with two match points awarded to each club.

“The Board and the Executive have been guided by input from the deliberations of the EPCR Sporting and Tournaments Committee which like the EPCR Board is made up of representatives of the URC, PRL and TOP 14 leagues.

“The Round 2 matches were initially postponed following the unforeseen introduction of new travel measures between the UK and France which resulted in EPCR being unable to obtain assurances that existing cross-border travel exemptions for players, club staff and match officials would remain in place.

The options of modifying the tournament formats and/or rescheduling the matches were deliberated in great detail by all parties, however, in an increasingly complex fixture calendar due to Covid-19, it was regrettably decided that the only choice in the circumstances was to cancel the matches.

“The Board then considered how the seven matches should be accounted for in the standings of the tournaments and it was satisfied that the correct approach was for the EPCR Executive to apply the Match Result Resolution Matrix as set out in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup Participation Agreement.

“On the basis that none of the clubs involved were in a position to play once the EPCR Board had postponed the seven matches due to the new restrictive travel measures, the only option open to the EPCR Executive under the provisions of the Match Result Resolution Matrix was to record the results as 0-0 draws and to award two match points to each club.”

As a result, the below round two fixtures have been recorded as 0-0 draws with two match points awarded to each club, while the updated Champions Cup standings can be found here.

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Champions Cup

Bath Rugby v Stade Rochelais
Sale Sharks v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Scarlets v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Toulousain v Wasps
Stade Francais Paris v Bristol Bears

Challenge Cup

Worcester Warriors v Biarritz Olympique
London Irish v CA Brive  

- Originally published at 6:07pm

BTL 5

About the author:

Ciarán Kennedy

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