The continent’s elite are ready to fight it out, but who will be crowned the best of the best?
Starts Friday 12 October, 7pm, BT Sport 2/HD (CH 532/528)
In European club rugby, one tournament stands head and shoulders above the rest. We’re talking about the Heineken Champions Cup – and this season’s competition is ready for lift-off, live on BT Sport.
The very best teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France will scrap it out over the next seven months to decide who really rules the continent. From the gripping group stage to the nervy knockout rounds and the thrilling final at St James’ Park in Newcastle, it’s going to be epic.
Before the action kicks off this Friday with a huge clash between holders Leinster and Wasps, here are a few things you should know about this season’s titanic tournament…
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Every game is live on BT Sport
Let’s start with the important stuff. BT Sport is the only place where you can watch every match from this season’s Heineken Champions Cup live. From the first group game to the final on 11 May, you can follow every try, scrum, maul, ruck, and mudbath on your telly. Out and about when the action is on? Then keep up to speed with the drama as it happens via the Virgin TV Go app.
Three powerhouses have dominated in recent years
Since 2011, only a trio of clubs have won the tournament: Saracens, Toulon and Leinster, who clinched a record-equalling fourth title last season. These teams really are the titans of European club rugby, and you can expect them to be right in the mix again this season.
But this season’s other contenders are looking strong
England’s Exeter Chiefs (with prop Ben Moon, pictured) and Irish giants Munster are both likely to go deep in this season’s competition, while there’s plenty of buzz around Gallic duo Montpellier Hérault and Castres, while last year’s runners-up Racing 92 will be hoping to go one step further in 2019. What about the Welsh and Scottish teams, we hear you cry? No team from these nations has ever won the tournament, and that’s unlikely to change this season.
There’s a group of death
Defending champions Leinster have been pitted against Wasps, Toulouse and Bath in Pool 1. It’s an incredibly tough group, with the four clubs boasting 11 Champions Cup titles between them. There’s only one thing you can do as a viewer in this situation – sit back and watch the carnage unfold.
These are the star players to look out for
It’s impossible to name all the A-list players on show this season, but there are a few who are definitely worth keeping an eye on. For game-changing backs, look no further than Owen Farrell (Saracens, pictured), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Racing 92) and Henry Trinder (Gloucester). If ferocious forwards are more your thing, last season’s European Player of the Year Leone Nakawara (Racing 92), Mako Vunipola (Saracens) and Tadhg Beirne (Munster) will be providing some serious power. It’s all shaping up to be a terrifically entertaining tournament.
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