Champions Cup last eight postponed due to coronavirus

Saracens beat Leinster to lift the Champions Cup last seasons

The quarter-finals of this year's Champions and Challenge Cups have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said on Monday.

Four of the matches originally scheduled for April 3-5 were set to be played in France, where the government has closed schools, bars and restaurants and most shops except for food stories and pharmacies.

"Amid growing public health concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was taken during a conference call today (Monday, 16 March) to postpone the eight matches on the weekend in question and to suspend the European club rugby season," EPCR said in a statement.

"EPCR's priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable," it added.

Clermont will host fellow French side Racing 92, Top 14 holders Toulouse will welcome Ulster, reigning European champions Saracens head to Dublin to face Leinster and Exeter play Northampton on the English south coast.

In the second-tier tournament the Scarlets travel to French giants Toulon, Top 14 leaders Bordeaux-Begles face Edinburgh, Premiership outfit Leicester play Castres and the Dragons make the trip across the Severn Bridge to Bristol.

Domestic competitions across Europe, which has become the epicentre of the virus, have already been put on hold.

Saracens beat Leinster to lift the Champions Cup last seasons