2023 Leicester Tigers vs DHL Stormers

Gallagher Premiership Clubs In The 2023-2024 Investec Champions Cup

Gallagher Premiership Clubs In The 2023-2024 Investec Champions Cup

Get ready for the Investec Champions Cup! Explore the chances of the eight English rugby clubs with this breakdown and preview for the 2023-2024 campaign.

Dec 6, 2023
Gallagher Premiership Clubs In The 2023-2024 Investec Champions Cup

With the Investec Champions Cup set to return this weekend, eight English clubs are readying themselves for the start of Europe’s biggest club rugby competition.

In the last decade, English sides have lifted the esteemed trophy four times, the last winners being the Exeter Chiefs in 2020.

Since then, the English contingent has struggled to stay level with the best the URC and Top 14 have to offer, but with a new campaign comes fresh promise and optimism.

Each team will believe it can go the distance, but who are the pretenders and who truly are the ones to watch? 

Here, we take a closer look at the chances of each English outfit:

Bath Rugby 

The arrival of Finn Russell in the summer has breathed new life into Bath, propelling the squad up to second in the Premiership table. 

Almost instantaneously, the west-country outfit has transformed into a battling beast, with plenty of bite in its backline.

It has been a while since they did any real damage in a European competition, but this may be the year that all changes. 

With Russell pulling the strings, anything’s possible, and Bath will believe it can kickstart its campaign with wins against Ulster and Cardiff.

It’s not an easy task but, given its current form, Bath is more than capable of winning and should be favored to reach the quarterfinals.

Bristol Bears 

On paper, the Bristol Bears have a squad capable of competing with the very best. However, their form does not match that quality.

Over the course of the season so far, Pat Lam’s side has endured an unwanted five-game losing streak, too often struggling for consistency.

Their all-out attacking style can be a joy to behold when it works, but when the cogs catch, and mistakes start to slip in, the viewing experience becomes a lot more challenging.

They’ll have the chance to start things on a high when they host Top 14 struggler Lyon this weekend, though they’ll then be confronted with a sterner test with a trip abroad to face the electric Bordeaux Begles before taking on the Bulls and Connacht. 

It’s hard to imagine them picking up more than one win across those four fixtures, which is why they’ll likely exit in the group stages.

Exeter Chiefs

Against the odds, the young crop of talent emerging at Exeter Chiefs has shown, despite losing numerous marquee players in the summer, they still have the minerals to compete with the top dogs.

Of course, it’s still a work in progress, with wins coming just as readily as losses, though there’s enough indication to suggest brighter days lay ahead.

There may be a bit of a wait until they’re truly competitive in Europe, especially given they line up against Toulon, Munster and the Glasgow Warriors in the coming weeks.

Their best chance of a win in the Champions Cup will be against Bayonne, which is why they likely won’t progress beyond the group stages.


Harlequins has a tough old start to its European campaign, as it begins with another trip to Paris. 

The London side will be spurred on by its heartbreaking loss to Racing 92 last season and will have plans to set the record straight this time around.

It won’t be easy, but with Marcus Smith hitting top form at just the right time, they are in with a chance of winning. They’ll have to follow that up with a challenging fixture against last season’s semifinalist Toulouse.

Betting against Quins may seem like the smart option, but the English outfit is built to thrive on the European stage and may just sneak into a quarterfinal.

Leicester Tigers 

The Leicester Tigers' no-nonsense style of play doesn’t always ignite the imagination, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective.

With Handre Pollard orchestrating things at fly-half, the midland's side metronomically accrues points, slowly bludgeoning opponents to submission.

They also have a reasonably favorable draw, with opening fixtures against the URC strugglers, the Stormers, and the beatable Stade Francais. Harder tests will come later on, with the two finalists, Leinster and La Rochelle, beckoning.

If Leicester can pick up two early wins, the Tigers stand a chance of reaching the last 16.

Northampton Saints 

Last season, the Northampton Saints put up little fight in the Champions Cup. Their whimpering exit will fuel their desire to show what they’re truly made of on the biggest stage.

It won’t be easy, especially given the teams they have to face. The Glasgow Warriors, Toulon and Munster all are performing well at the minute and will be favored to beat Saints. However, Phil Dowson’s men have enough talent, particularly in the backs, to unpick all three of those opponents.

The challenge will be consistency, but the Saints have form on their side and nothing to lose. Don’t be surprised if they manage to qualify for the last 16.

Sale Sharks 

Like Leicester, the Sale Sharks have the unfortunate task of facing the two finalists from last season - Leinster and La Rochelle. Even with George Ford operating at maximum capacity, it’s hard to imagine Sale bettering either of those two European juggernauts.

That means they must beat their other two foes – Stade Francais and the Stormers. While they no doubt have it in them to overturn either side, their primary focus is on the Premiership, which could detract from their stint in the Champions Cup, leading to an early exit in the competition.


The hopes of an English team picking up any European silverware rests largely with Saracens. 

The three-time winner has a squad filled with international stars and more than enough experience to carry them all the way to the final.

That’s the benchmark for this team, especially with the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Ben Earl and Alex Goode still leading the line for the north Londoners.

They open their campaign with a tricky trip to South Africa to face the Bulls. It’s not an easy matchup, especially to kickstart a tournament, but Saracens is built on the belief it can beat anyone.

That’s why the team will staunchly trust it can also overcome Connacht, Bordeaux Begles and Lyon to remain unbeaten in the pool stages.

If they do so, they should be expected to do one better than last year and reach the semifinals.