The CEO of the Gallagher Premiership, Darren Childs, has confirmed that the European competitions will proceed to a knockout setup after the remaining rounds of the pool stage were cancelled.
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), who run the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, this week had to call off the pool stage games meant to be held over the next two weekends after the French Government prevented their sides from playing overseas sides due to health concerns.
These games will now not be re-arranged and instead the top 16 sides in the Heineken Cup will proceed into a knockout stage, while the top 8 sides in the Challenge Cup will be joined by the bottom 8 sides in the Heineken Cup for a second tier round of 16.
This means that Cardiff Blues, currently sitting third in the Challenge Cup table, will be at home to one of the bottom four Heineken Cup sides on the weekend of 2nd/3rd April. Exactly who the opposition will be remains to be seen as it depends on how EPCR will rank the sides dropping down from the top tier.
If the teams are ranked solely by points then it will be a Welsh derby with the Dragons, however if it’s on pool position, as the Heineken Cup is split into two pools, then English side Harlequins will be the visitors to the Arms Park.
EPCR are expected to make an announcement in the next week on what the next steps in each competition will be.