Champions Cup to keep 24-team format

Paris (AFP) –


The European Champions Cup will continue with its enlargened format of 24 teams next season, a source with knowledge of the subject told AFP on Thursday.

The contintental top-tier competition was changed from the usual 20 clubs this term to deal with Covid-19 issues.

The sides were put into two groups of 12 with clubs playing four games, instead of five pools of four and six fixtures each.

This term's edition was cut to just two rounds of preliminary matches in January and a last 16 round was introduced after worries over the British variant of Covid-19.

Reports in French media this week claimed South African franchises could compete in next season's Champions Cup due to their participation in the Pro 14's Rainbow Cup.

The league, which also consists of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian sides, would have to change its qualifying rules for the four South African teams, the Bulls, the Stormers, the Lions and the Sharks, to play in Europe.

This weekend, joint-record four-time winner Toulouse host Bordeaux-Begles and La Rochelle welcome Leinster, champions on four occasions, in the semi-finals.