Champions Cup celebrate 25th anniversary
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Leading lights of the world game were on hand in Cardiff today for the official launch of the 2019/20 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments and to celebrate the start of the 25th anniversary season of Europe’s premier club rugby competition.
Tournament winners, Johnny Sexton, Leo Cullen and Allen Clarke, as well as Chris Robshaw, Iain Henderson and Dan Lydiate, were among the top names who attended the event at the Principality Stadium, in addition to Emile Ntamack, the winning Toulouse captain from the first European Cup final which was staged in the Welsh capital in 1996.
With all roads for the anniversary season leading to Marseille and the 2020 Finals weekend, it was announced that the Challenge Cup final at the Stade de Marseille on May 22 followed by the Champions Cup showpiece the next day.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) November 6, 2019
It was also confirmed that more than 45 000 tickets have been sold for the two finals matches combined as Marseille is set to become the 10th city to host a European Cup decider.
Directors of Rugby and Head Coaches, and high-profile players from Gallagher Premiership clubs participating in the Champions Cup – Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester Rugby, Northampton Saints, Harlequins, Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks – and from the PRO14 clubs in the tournament – Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Munster Rugby, Ulster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Benetton Rugby and Ospreys
Cardiff Blues Head Coach, John Mulvilhill, and captain, Ellis Jenkins, were also present as representatives of the clubs competing in this season’s Challenge Cup.
EPCR Chairman, Simon Halliday, said: “The Champions Cup has been the one to win for a quarter of a century in club rugby and we have a fascinating season ahead on the Road to Marseille. On the back of an exceptional Rugby World Cup, stars of the global game are ready to lock horns on the continental stage and it’s an exciting prospect to be underway next week.”
EPCR Director General, Vincent Gaillard, said: “Finals Weekend in Marseille has already excited the European rugby family and it will be a fitting destination to conclude the 25th season of what is now the Champions Cup. Launching the season in a city that is regarded by many as the tournament’s spiritual home is completely appropriate, and to see Emile Ntamack back in Cardiff with the inaugural trophy from 1996 is very special indeed.”
The #HeinekenChampionsCup launch is in full swing here in Cardiff 👊
Which clubs are you most looking forward to seeing in action this season?? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/5ISma8AHI0
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) November 6, 2019