Leinster v Saracens off as Champions Cup quarter-finals are postponed

The European Champions Cup quarter-finals have been postponed, with Leinster and Ulster among the clubs to be hit by rugby's latest cancellation.

Leinster v Saracens off as Champions Cup quarter-finals are postponed

The European Champions Cup quarter-finals have been postponed, with Leinster and Ulster among the clubs to be hit by rugby's latest cancellation.

The quarter-final were down for decision on the weekend of April 4-5, with unbeaten Leinster's clash against reigning champions Saracens - a rerun of the 2019 final - the pick of the bunch.

However, tournament organisers EPCR have suspended the Champions and Challenge Cups as the coronavirus impact mushrooms across Europe.

"The Board of European Professional Club Rugby has decided that this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-final matches will not now be played on the scheduled dates of 3/4/5 April," they said in a statement.

"Amid growing public health concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was taken during a conference call today (Monday, 16 March) to postpone the eight matches on the weekend in question and to suspend the European club rugby season.

"While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport’s governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.

"EPCR’s priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable."

The other games due to take place were Ulster's trip to Toulouse, Exeter v Northampton, and Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92.

Meanwhile, England's Gallagher Premiership has been suspended for at least five weeks, Premiership Rugby has announced.

The move, which comes in the wake of UK government advice to avoid mass gatherings, will cover four rounds of Premiership games and the European quarter-finals.

A Premiership Rugby statement said: “We are sorry to tell our fans that we will be postponing our season for five weeks, in line with today’s advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which confirmed that the Government would no longer support mass gatherings.

“The safety of our fans and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery.”

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