The new-look last-16 draw has produced a slew of compelling fixtures full of potential for sudden-death frisson
Not so long ago the Easter weekend was reserved for end-of-season club tours and festival frolics. These days the holiday egg chasing is a great deal more serious with 32 teams limbering up for crucial European knockout ties that could yet shape how the tournament itself evolves in the coming years.
Because of the impact of Covid‑19 on the pool phases the organiser, European Professional Club Rugby, has opted to introduce a round of 16 in the Heineken Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup followed by quarter-finals next week. The fresh draw has produced a feast of compelling cross-border fixtures and, if the rugby proves suitably appetising to the public and the broadcasters, the format could be repeated in future, the Guardian understands.