Cardiff face toughest draw of all on Heineken Cup return

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Cardiff Rugby will face the English, and the French and European, champions in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage.

The draw held on Wednesday lunchtime will pit Dai Young’s men against Harlequins, who defeated Exeter to win the Gallagher Premiership title, as well as Toulouse, who overcame La Rochelle in both the finals of the Heineken Cup and the Top14 last season.

Both are familiar opponents for the Blue and Blacks with Quins having been pool stage opponents on four previous occasions in the Heineken Cup, dating back to the 1997/98 campaign, with Cardiff victorious on five times, suffering one defeat and earning two draws, while the two teams also met in the 2015/16 Challenge Cup pool stage where the English side did the double.

Toulouse were the opposition in the first ever Heineken Cup Final, back in January 1996, while we have also faced them in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 knockout stages, winning only the latter game. Pool stage clashes in the 2000/01 and 2009/10 Heineken Cups, and 2017/18 Challenge Cup have seen us win four and lose two games.

In order to reach the round of 16, Cardiff will need to finish in the top eight of Pool B after the home and away games against Harlequins and Toulouse, with Munster, Bordeaux, Bristol, Connacht, Stade Francais, Scarlets, Leicester, Castres and Wasps forming the rest of the pool.

Fixtures will be announced in due course, with the round dates as follows;

Round 1 – 10/11/12 December 2021
Round 2 – 17/18/19 December 2021
Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022
Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022
Round of 16 (1st leg) – 8/9/10 April 2022
Round of 16 (2nd leg) – 15/16/17 April 2022
Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022
Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

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