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Challenge Cup: Dates and Kick-offs confirmed

NEWS: Following a tense conclusion to the pool stage last weekend when eight of the nine matches counted either for qualification or ranking, EPCR announced the dates, venues and kick-off times of the Challenge Cup Round of 16 fixtures.

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The road to the 2024 London Finals at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the weekend of May 24/25 will become clearer as the knockout stage gets underway in early April and the clubs remaining in contention for silverware – including Aviron Bayonnais, Sale Sharks, Connacht and Ulster who have qualified from the Champions Cup – have 11 EPCR titles between them, with five tournament winners also in the mix.

The No. 1-ranked club, Sharks from the United Rugby Championship, will be up against Zebre Parma in Durban on Sunday, April 7, and No. 2-ranked Gloucester, the leading club from the Premiership, face Castres Olympique at Kingsholm on Friday, April 5.

On Saturday, April 6, ASM Clermont Auvergne, three-time tournament winners and the highest-ranked club from the TOP 14, host the Cheetahs at Stade Marcel-Michelin, Benetton are at home against the Lions, Ospreys clash with Sale Sharks at the Brewery Field in Bridgend, and Edinburgh take on Aviron Bayonnais at the Hive Stadium.

In addition to the Sharks v Zebre Parma tie on Sunday, April 7, Ulster travel to face Montpellier, and Connacht are also in France for a head-to-head with Section Paloise at Stade du Hameau.

CHALLENGE CUP – Round of 16
(Pool stage rankings in brackets / All kick-offs local times)

Friday, April 5

Match 2: Gloucester (2) v Castres Olympique (15)
( Kingsholm – Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)

Saturday, April 6

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Match 4: ASM Clermont Auvergne (4) v Cheetahs (13)
( Stade Marcel-Michelin – Kick-off: 13.30; 12.30 GMT; 14.30 SA Time)

Match 3: Benetton (3) v Lions (14)
(Stadio Comunale di Monigo – Kick-off: 18.30, 17.30 GMT; 20.30 SA time)

Match 7: Ospreys (7) v Sale Sharks (10)
(Brewery Field – Kick-off: Bridgend 20.00; 20.00 GMT)

Match 8: Edinburgh (8) v Aviron Bayonnais (9)
( Hive Stadium – Kick-off: 20.00, 20.00 GMT; 21.00 France time)

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Sunday, April 7

Match 5: Montpellier Hérault (5) v Ulster (12)
( GGL Stadium – Kick-off: 13.30; 12.30 GMT; 12.30 UK Time)

Match 1: Sharks (1) v Zebre Parma (16)
(Kings Park – Kick-off: 16.00; 14.00 GMT; 15.00 Italy time)

Match 6: Section Paloise (6) v Connacht (11),
(Stade du Hameau – Kick-off: 18.30; 17.30 GMT; 17.30 UK time)

Quarterfinals –  April 12/13/14
QF 1: winner R16 1 v winner R16 8
QF 2: winner R16 2 v winner R16 7
QF 3: winner R16 3 v winner R16 6
QF 4: winner R16 4 v winner R16 5
NB The highest-ranked teams from the pool stage will have home venue advantage.

Semi-finals – May 3/4/5
SF 1: winner QF 1 v winner QF 4
SF 2: winner QF 2 v winner QF 3
NB The highest-ranked teams from the pool stage will have home venue advantage.

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