Originally due to face off in April, Leinster and Saracens' Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final has been confirmed for Saturday, 19 September at the Aviva.

It’s a rematch of the finale last season when Leinster were overpowered by the English champions in Newcastle, losing 20-10.

Leinster won all of their Pool 1 games this season and were rewarded with a tie against the reigning champions, who scrapped through as eighth seed with a narrow final-day win over Racing 92. 

The saga of Sarries' salary cap breaches had played out throughout the group stages and confirmation that they were to be relegated from the Premiership came at the same time as the final round in January. 

Since the season has run over due to the coronavirus pandemic, Saracens and Leinster have had some changes in personnel but there is no doubt that it is the London-based side who have taken a bigger hit.

While Owen Farrell, who confirmed he would be staying with the relegated club this morning, and most of the rest of the core of Eddie Jones’ England side are staying on, they have lost a number of experienced players.

Director of Rugby, former Ireland international, Mark McCall has also been boosted by the retention of captain Brad Barritt on a short-term contract, while Japan-bound Alex Goode and George Kruis look set to stay on for the moment. 

Wales and Lions full-back Liam Williams had been working his way back from an injury suffered at the World Cup before the shutdown. The 29-year-old was due to see out the season with Saracens but subsequently left to join Scarlets.

Fellow Lions star Maro Itoje, according to the BBC, has still not made a decision about his future. 

The 25-year-old second row would be a considerable loss for the Allianz Park side should he decide to move on. 

Lock Will Skelton featured in five of their pool games but has since joined up with Ronan O’Gara at La Rochelle.

England scrum-half Ben Spencer has moved to Bath. The three-time competition winner had played in four of their pool games. 

Munster have taken full-back/wing Matt Gallagher (pictured below), who played three times in the group stage.

In addition, prop Titi Lamositele, hooker Joe Gray and lock Nick Isekwe, who were all in the 23-man squad for last season’s final are not around. Conversely, Sean O'Brien is the only Leinster man from that day to have departed. 

Nick Tompkins, Max Malins, Alex Lozowksi, Ben Earl and Jack Singleton have been loaned out for the coming season. 

However, England stars Elliot Daly, Mako and Billy Vunipola and Jamie George have all agreed to stay on.

Leo Cullen has managed to keep backs Rob Kearney and Fergus McFadden on board on short-term deals until the end of the season, while powerhouse Australian centre Joe Tomane, who played in three of Leinster’s Pool 1 games, has moved to Montpellier.

Last month the Blues announced that seven players had left the club but only Tomane and hooker Bryan Byrne (one appearance as a replacement) had played in this season’s competition.

By the time the game comes around, and if Covid-19 has not further delayed the return to play, Leinster and Ulster will be four games into their restarted Guinness Pro14 campaigns.

It is due to resume on 22/23 August with inter-pro clashes against Munster and Connacht behind closed doors at the Aviva.

All going to plan they will have had four weeks of rugby under their belt, normally plenty of time to prime for European battle.

Interestingly, the Gallagher Premiership has pencilled in 15 August for the resumption and, including mid-week games, Saracens, who are rooted to the bottom following their points deduction, have four fixtures to fulfil, the final one coming on 31 August, fully three weeks before the Leinster game.

In France the Top14 was cancelled as the pandemic hit the country hard. 

Organisers aim to start the 2020/21 season on Saturday, 5 September with Toulouse playing Clermont away.

After that the four-time winners host O'Gara's La Rochelle, seven days before welcoming Ulster to Le Stadium.

Ulster will be strengthened with the addition of Ireland out-half Ian Madigan, following his spells at Bordeaux and Bristol.

The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience to the table, including 30 international caps and 147 Leinster appearances that yielded two Champions Cups, a Challenge Cup and two Pro12 titles. 

While John Cooney remains the stand-out player, scrum-half Alby Matthewson, a five-cap All Black, has also joined the Ravenhill outfit, and, as Munster saw first-hand, is well able to control the end stages of big games.

The news that Jordi Murphy, Will Addison, Jacob Stockdale, Sean Reidy and Matty Rea also committed to extending their stays certainly gives hope to Ulster fans that they can compete in the knock-out stages on a more regular basis.

Richie Gray, meanwhile, is a high-profile departure from Toulouse. The savvy second-row played three times for the side during their Pool 5 clean sweep.

Scrum-half Sebastien Bezy, who has joined Clermont, was first-choice scrum-half for their first four pool games and also featured in the final two. 

Still, Ugo Mola's squad boast the likes of Antoine Dupont, Yoann Huget, Romain Ntamack and Cheslin Kolbe so it’s a tough ask for Ulster, especially on the road.