Key Investec Champions Cup Clashes To Watch In Round 3


Round 3 of the Investec Champions Cup will burst back into action next week, with 12 more exciting matches on show. Here are five mouth-watering fixtures with big connotations for qualification for the knockouts...

Union Bordeaux-Bègles v Saracens (January 14)

With three teams on five points, Pool 1 is on a knife edge, although after a blistering first two rounds, Union Bordeaux-Bègles have powered themselves into a strong position atop the group and have looked like early contenders for the title.

The Stade Chaban-Delmas crowd will be expecting another big performance against Saracens, who are one of the sides on five points. After losing at Vodacom Bulls in Round 1, the English outfit notched a big win against Connacht Rugby in Round 2 and tries could mount up as Damian Penaud and co take on Owen Farrell’s men.

Bristol Bears v Vodacom Bulls (January 13)

In one of the games of the tournament so far, Bristol Bears picked up a crucial last-minute 36-34 home win in Round 1 over Lyon, only for a young line-up to be crushed at Union Bordeaux-Bègles in Round 2, leaving the English club with five points in fifth in Pool 1 due to points difference.

Round 3 visitors Vodacom Bulls also have five following their victory over Saracens in South Africa and despite a 29-28 loss at Lyon, they are third on points difference. It’s a big chance for both teams to put one foot in the Round of 16 in their first ever Investec Champions Cup meeting.

Ulster Rugby v Stade Toulousain (January 13)

The Kingspan Stadium roared Ulster Rugby to a big Round 2 win over Racing 92, but the Irish province will need all their support and more to help them against Pool 2 table-toppers and early title contenders Stade Toulousain.

A star-studded squad have led the French side to the highest points difference of any team so far (73) as they have racked a maximum 10 points from their first two games and will fancy their chances of making it three from three against third-placed Ulster Rugby, having won their last two fixtures in Northern Ireland; they triumphed 29-22 in 2020 and 30-23 in 2022.

RC Toulon v Munster Rugby (January 13)

Despite their storied history in EPCR’s elite competition, neither RC Toulon nor Munster Rugby have won a game in this season’s edition, which means whoever loses in France will be staring down the barrel of a shock early departure in Pool 3.

RC Toulon suffered comeback losses to both Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints, while Munster Rugby suffered the same fate in Round 2 against Exeter Chiefs after a home draw to debutants Aviron Bayonnais. The two sides have faced each other four times in EPCR’s top tournament and both have two home wins each, so it really is winner-takes-all all on France’s south coast.

Stade Rochelais v Leicester Tigers (January 14)

When the pools were drawn, eyes were immediately drawn to the extraordinary depth of talent in Pool 4 – but no one dared imagine that defending champions and two-time winner Stade Rochelais could be facing an early exit.

Two losing bonus points in tight defeats to Leinster Rugby and DHL Stormers have kept their hopes alive, but they need more than that against Leicester Tigers, who sit second after wins against DHL Stormers and at Stade Français Paris.

Investec Champions Cup Tables