"The Final Four" - Semi-Finalists Confirmed for Investec Champions Cup - Ruck

“The Final Four” – Semi-Finalists Confirmed for Investec Champions Cup

After a high octane weekend of Investec Champions Cup action, the battle lines have been drawn for the semi-finals to take place in May. The tournament has now been whittled down to just four teams with two Premiership clubs remaining in the pinnacle continental competition.

Here is a run-down of how the Champions Cup semi-finals shape up, with a recount of all the action from the quarter-final weekend.



Leinster achieved a four year search for revenge over La Rochelle, after the French side achieved a trio of Champions Cup wins over the Dubliners. Dating back to their semi-final meeting in 2021, that saw La Rochelle despatch the Irish province in the competition, the two sides would then meet in the 2022 and 2023 Champions Cup Finals, with Stade Rochelais claiming the spoils on both occasions.

However, La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara’s success over Leinster wore thin last weekend, as Leinster racked up a monstrous win over La Rochelle. Five tries for Leinster saw them knock out the back-to-back title holders, as Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Sheehan, Ryan Baird all got on the score-sheet, with powerhouse wing James Lowe adding two tries to the 40-13 victory.

Northampton Saints come into the semi-finals in fine form, as the Premiership table toppers ran out a rampant victory against an albeit weak Vodacom Bulls side. Despite having a litany of South African internationals at their disposal, the Pretoria side decided to keep 10 Springbok-capped players in the Southern Hemisphere, and sent a heavily criticised ‘second team’ to the East Midlands, which the Saints calmly despatched of. Northampton had the backing of their England internationals, with the returning George Furbank also relishing in the Franklin’s Gardens party atmosphere.

Bulls coach James White was praised for his post-match address to the Saints, with reports stating that he wished Northampton the best. “Hopefully you get the double”, was the message, after Northampton ran out a 59-22 win over the South African visitors. First half tries for James Ramm, Courtney Lawes, Ollie Sleightholme, Alex Mitchell helped build a healthy lead, with Alex Coles, Fraser Dingwall and Juarno Augustus continuing on the try scoring into the second 40 minutes.


The stage is set for a quarter-final of a rapid tempo, with Stade Toulousain set to host Harlequins in Southern France. Two of European rugby’s most enigmatic entertainers, Toulouse and Quins will meet for a barnstorming semi-final fixture next month. Starting off with Toulouse, and the french side ran away with the quarter-final meeting with Exeter Chiefs, after a cagey start to proceedings.

Toulouse had to defend valiantly in the first half, with every inch of grass upon the Stade Ernest Wallon covered within the match’s early goings. The hectic first half saw Toulouse and the Chiefs trade attacks with two tries to one, yet the second 40 minutes was one-way traffic in favour of the French club. Toulouse scored nine tries against the visiting Devonians, who were rather unceremoniously sent packing from the Champions Cup after an impressive run. Toulouse crossed the whitewash through tries from Romain Ntamack, Jack Willis, Blair Kinghorn (two) Antoine Dupont and Juan Cruz Mallia (two).

Harlequins booked their place in the semi-final after a victorious trip out to Bordeaux, with the unforgettable 42-41 win taking Quins through to the final four, for the first time in their history. Momentum constantly swayed back and forth between the two sides, with the deciding blow coming in the form of Tyrone Green’s try, and Marcus Smith’s subsequent conversion. Quins entered this match with the aim of bringing pride back to London, after Bordeaux handed Saracens two heavy defeats earlier on in the competition’s pool stage.

Harlequins found their way over the try line through Will Porter (two), Will Evans, Alex Dombrandt, Tyrone Green and also in the way of a penalty try. The resilient victory was Harlequins’ second Champions Cup win in France this season, after they recorded a stunning 31-28 triumph over Racing 92 in Paris. Quins will be hoping for a third win in the home of Les Bleus, yet face a stern challenge after their recent encounter with Toulouse. Stade Toulousain dealt Harlequins a humbling 47-19 defeat earlier in the Champions Cup pool stages, with the Londoners left tending to their war wounds following a resounding defeat at the Stoop.