Mon 13 Jun 2022 | 05:38

SA teams face first BIG Euro draw

SA teams face first BIG Euro draw
Mon 13 Jun 2022 | 05:38
SA teams face first BIG Euro draw
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NEWS: Following the landmark announcement of the inclusion of the leading South African teams in its tournaments, EPCR confirmed the formats and qualifiers for next season’s expanded Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

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The 2022/23 Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 elite teams with eight representatives from the United Rugby Championship – including historic first appearances by the Stormers, Bulls and Sharks – as well as eight representatives from the Premiership and eight from the TOP 14.

The teams will be divided into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B – and the tournament will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting next December when Stade Rochelais begin the defence of their title.

The eight highest-ranked teams from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and the showpiece Final in Dublin on 20 May 2023.

The draw for the Champions Cup pools, on Tuesday 28 June, will be carried out on the same lines as last season – with the teams separated into four tiers based on their rankings, and teams from the same league in the same tier will not be drawn into the same pool.

The number one and number two ranked teams from each league will be in Tier One, the number three and number four ranked teams will be in Tier Two, the number five and six ranked teams will be in Tier Three, and the number seven and number eight ranked teams will be Tier Four.

The Tier One and the Tier Four teams which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage, as will the Tier Two and Tier Three teams which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.

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Twenty teams will play in next season’s EPCR Challenge Cup with eight representatives from the United Rugby Championship, including the Johannesburg-based Lions who will also be making a historic first appearance in an EPCR competition, six from the Top 14, five from the Premiership, as well as the Cheetahs from Bloemfontein who have accepted an invitation to compete.

The teams will be divided into two pools of 10 – Pool A and Pool B – and in a similar format to the Champions Cup, the tournament will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December.

The six highest-ranked teams from each pool, as well as the ninth and 10th-ranked teams from each of the Champions Cup pools, will qualify for a Round of 16, which will be followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and the Final on 19 May 2023.

The teams will be separated into three tiers based on their rankings, and teams from the same league will not play against one another during the pool stage.

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The number one and number two ranked teams from each league will be in Tier One, and the number three and number four ranked teams from each league, as well as the number five and number six ranked teams from the URC, will be in Tier Two. The Dragons, Zebre Parma, Aviron Bayonnais, USAP, Bath and the Cheetahs will be in Tier Three

The Tier One and the Tier Three teams which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away over four pool stage rounds.

The Tier Two teams which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage.

In order to adhere to the key principle of no same-league matches, Tier Two teams from the Top 14 can only play against opposition from the URC, and similarly, Tier Two teams from the Premiership can also only play against opposition from the URC.

Euro-Cup-draws

PV: 20
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