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EPCR pools for 2022/23 announced

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Stade Rochelais, who won a first Heineken Champions Cup in such dramatic fashion in May, will launch the defence of their title at Stade Marcel Deflandre against another former tournament winner, Northampton Saints, when the 2022/23 EPCR season kicks off on the weekend of 9/10/11 December.

The Anglo-French clash in Pool B will be one of a host of mouthwatering match-ups, which include the landmark participation of South African clubs, following the announcement of the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup fixture schedules on Thursday.

The DHL Stormers, winners of the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC), will have a first competitive outing on French soil when they take on ASM Clermont Auvergne in the Stade Marcel-Michelin cauldron, while the Pretoria-based Vodacom Bulls and the Cell C Sharks from Durban will be at home against Lyon and Harlequins respectively in Round 1 on the weekend of 9/10/11 December.

Click HERE for the 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures

Reigning Gallagher Premiership champions, Leicester Tigers, will open their campaign against the Ospreys at the Swansea.com Stadium, and last season’s TOP 14 winners, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, will also be on the road when they face London Irish, who are making a return to the top flight for the first time since 2012, at Brentford Community Stadium.

Two of the tournament’s heavyweights, Munster Rugby and Stade Toulousain, who met in a memorable quarter-final last season, will renew rivalries in Round 1 in early December at what is certain to be a packed-out Thomond Park.

At this stage, EPCR are only announcing the fixtures by round for the pool stages, with exact dates, kick-off times and TV coverage in both the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup to be announced as soon as possible following the conclusion of negotiations with broadcasters for the new cycle across each market.

The 2020 winners, Bristol Bears, will be hoping for a repeat performance when they start their EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A campaign against USAP at Stade Aimé Giral on the weekend of 9/10/11 December, while last season’s defeated finalists, RC Toulon, travel to Zebre Parma in Round 1.

Click HERE for the 2022/23 EPCR Challenge Cup pool stage fixtures

The Lions from Johannesburg will make their debut in the tournament against Worcester Warriors at Sixways, while the Toyota Cheetahs, who will play their two ‘home’ matches in Pool B at Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma, go head-to-head with Section Paloise at Stade du Hameau in the south-west of France in Round 1.

HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

  • 24 elite clubs (nine tournament winners with 36 EPCR titles between them)
  • Two pools of 12
  • Four pool stage rounds
  • Eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool qualify for the knockout stage
  • Knockout stage: Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final
  • Ninth and 10th ranked clubs from each pool qualify for the EPCR Challenge Cup

EPCR CHALLENGE CUP

  • 20 clubs (seven tournament winners with 14 EPCR titles between them)
  • Two pools of 10
  • Four pool stage rounds
  • Six highest-ranked clubs from each pool qualify for the knockout stage
  • Knockout stage: Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final

2022/23 key dates
Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022
Round 2 – 16/17/18 December 2022
Round 3 – 13/14/15 January 2023
Round 4 – 20/21/22 January 2023
Round of 16 – 31 March – 1/2 April 2023
Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April 2023
Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April 2023
EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 19 May 2023; Aviva Stadium (Dublin)
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 20 May 2023; Aviva Stadium (Dublin)

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