Heineken Champions Cup: New signings eligible after rule change

Nick Isiekwe and Jonny Gray
Nick Isiekwe (left) and Jonny Gray have both moved to new clubs during rugby union's suspension

Exeter's Jonny Gray and Northampton's Nick Isiekwe will be able to play for their new clubs in the Heineken Champions Cup when the competition resumes after a rule change.

Previously, players could only represent one team during a season.

However, tournament organisers have waived the rule "on an exceptional basis" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The quarter-finals of Europe's top-tier club competition will be on 19 and 20 September.

Exeter and Northampton meet in one of the last-eight matches, with defending champions Saracens taking on Leinster in a repeat of the 2019 final.

Elsewhere, Clermont and Racing 92 contest an all-French tie and Toulouse take on Ulster.

The games will be played eight months after the pool stages were completed. With players' contracts usually timed to expire in the summer, several have moved clubs during rugby's hiatus.

Scotland second row Gray arrived at Sandy Park on a two-year deal from Glasgow Warriors, while England lock Isiekwe has moved to Northampton on a season-long loan from relegated Saracens.

The rule change also applies to the European Challenge Cup meaning the likes of Bristol centre Semi Radradra and Dragons full-back Jonah Holmes are free to play for their new clubs in the second-tier tournament.

The rule limiting clubs to two non-European players in each match-day squad has also been scrapped for the knock-out phases of both tournaments for the 2019-20 season.

The finals are due to be played in mid-October, although a venue is still to be announced after it was decided that Marseille would not be suitable this year.

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