Ahead of the EPCR Challenge Cup pool draw, we’ve collated all the information you need to know as 20 clubs learn their opponents for the 2022/23 competition.
When and where is it taking place?
It will be held at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Tuesday 28 June. The event starts at 12:00 (UK & Irish time) / 13:00 (SA & Italian time), with the EPCR Challenge Cup draw preceding the Heineken Champions Cup draw.
Where can I watch it?
The draw will be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com, and there will be exclusive blog coverage from 11:30 / 12:30.
Which clubs are involved in the draw?
The EPCR Challenge Cup draw, which includes the Johannesburg-based Lions and the Cheetahs from Bloemfontein for the first time, will feature clubs from the United Rugby Championship (URC), TOP 14 and Gallagher Premiership.
United Rugby Championship: 1 Glasgow Warriors, 2 Scarlets, 3 Connacht Rugby, 4 Lions, 5 Benetton Rugby, 6 Cardiff Rugby, 7 Dragons, 8 Zebre Parma
TOP 14: 1 RC Toulon, 2 Section Paloise, 3 Stade Français Paris, 4 CA Brive, 5 USAP, 6 Aviron Bayonnais
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Wasps, 2 Bristol Bears, 3 Worcester Warriors, 4 Newcastle Falcons, 5 Bath Rugby
🚨1 WEEK TO GO🚨
The draw for the 2022/23 #ChallengeCupRugby season will take place place in Dublin on Tuesday, 28 June 🤩
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) June 21, 2022
What are the key rules for the draw?
The 20 clubs will be placed in three tiers in order to create two pools of 10 – Pool A and Pool B. Clubs from the same league will not play against one another during the pool stage.
The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from the URC, the TOP 14 and the Premiership will be in Tier 1, the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs from each league, as well as the number 5 and number 6 ranked clubs from the URC, will be in Tier 2. The Dragons, Zebre Parma, USAP, Aviron Bayonnais, Bath Rugby and the Cheetahs will be in Tier 3.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 3 clubs 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 2 clubs 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 2 clubs from the TOP 14 will only play against opposition from the URC, and similarly, Tier 2 clubs from the Premiership will also only play against opposition from the URC.
For example, in Tier 2, the Lions will play against either Stade Français Paris or CA Brive, and against either Worcester Warriors or Newcastle Falcons.
When will the 2022/23 matches take place?
Once the draw has been concluded, EPCR will start to prepare the EPCR Challenge Cup fixture schedule, with an announcement of exact dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage to follow as soon as practicable.
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 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin