The line-up for the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been finalised. There are some intriguing games scheduled in both competitions with France having six of the 16 quarter finalists. It looks like many of the French big guns are going for it this season, probably because the finals are taking place in the south of France in Marseille.
There is one issue that I have with the method used when determining the Quarter Final matches. While the format to decide the teams is good, I feel that there should be some flexibility in the pairings. This season sees Bordeaux Begles host Edinburgh and Toulon entertain Scarlets in the Challenge Cup QFs. Both these matches are a re-runs of the pool stage matches. While this is not a common occurrence, it means five out of the last six 6 QFS that involved runners up in the Challenge Cup, have been a duplicate of the pool stages. Last season saw all three runners-up playing their pool winners while in the Champions Cup, Glasgow travelled to Saracens in the Champions Cup as a repeat of the pool stage.
While it may be deemed slightly unfair, I would suggest that if there is a pool stage rematch, the opposition should be altered. I would suggest that the next seed (either way) swaps places.
This would then mean that by the semi-final stage the teams would have played more than their three pool teams. It may be a small gripe, but when it occurs, I feel that it has a negative impact on the tournaments.