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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C

# Challenge Cup

Last week
22nd January 2023 - 28th January 2023
# Worry
Connacht's Prendergast emerges as injury concern for Six Nations
The 22-year-old made his Irish debut off the bench against Fiji in November.
# Setback
'We picked the team which we thought was good enough to win' - Andy Friend defends selection
Connacht must now travel to Benetton for last 16 Challenge Cup match.
This month
January 2023
# Challenge Cup
Bealham hat-trick not enough to stop Connacht losing away to Newcastle
Connacht lost out by 14 points at Kingston Park.
# Go West
Connacht make six changes for trip to Newcastle with Aki not named in squad
Connacht heading to Kingston Park tomorrow.
# Explainer
Plenty on the line as Irish provinces turn attention back to European Cup
All four provinces are in action on Saturday across a busy weekend in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
Last year
2022
# Optimism
Friend thrilled Connacht's squad depth strengthened by Challenge Cup games
“We’ve got to be brave enough to use it. There would have been a lot of people scratching their heads wondering what are we doing.”
# Depth
Connacht rest several key players but still earn deserved Challenge Cup win
The Irish side were too good for Newcastle Falcons.
# Challenge Cup
Connacht to rest Irish internationals during European pool games
The province kick-off their Challenge Cup campaign against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.
# New Addition
Cheetahs will join South African teams in Europe next season, EPCR confirms
A total of five South African sides will now be involved across the 2022/23 Champions and Challenge Cups.
# French connection
Lyon dominate Toulon to land maiden Challenge Cup crown
It’s a first European title for the Top 14 team.
# Probe
London Irish hooker cited for alleged hair-pull on World Cup-winner Eben Etzebeth
The incident supposedly took place during the European Challenge Cup quarter-final.
# Ch-Ch-Changes
Two-legged last-16 Champions Cup games scrapped as 2022/2023 season dates announced
The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions will get underway in December.
# decision
Postponed Champions Cup ties won't be rescheduled, as Leinster's 28-0 loss to Montpellier remains
Five postponed Champions Cup fixtures and two Challenge Cup games have been recorded as 0-0 draws.
All time
# Men in the Middle
Pearce to referee Champions Cup final as Irish officials appointed for Challenge Cup decider
The games take place the weekend after next.
# Comeback
Pollard makes injury return as Montpellier reach Challenge Cup final
The South African World Cup winner made his first appearance since September.
# Regrets
'You don’t move on from this quickly. It was a chance to be in a European final'
Dan McFarland felt Ulster’s kicking game in the third quarter cost them in Leicester.
# Same Old Story
Ulster fail to rise to the Challenge as Leicester seal comeback win
Ulster lost 33-24 to Leicester in tonight’s Challenge Cup semi-final.
AS IT HAPPENED
Leicester v Ulster, European Challenge Cup semi-final
Ulster lost to Leicester Tigers in tonight’s Challenge Cup semi-final despite leading 17-6 at half-time.
# Supporters
Twickenham to host European finals with crowds of up to 10,000 people
Meanwhile, EPCR confirmed that 24 teams will take part in next season’s Champions Cup.
# The big challenge
Ulster will never have a better chance to end their trophy drought than now
It is 15 years since Ulster last won a major trophy – but the province are now two games away from Challenge Cup glory.
# Scouting
Lions coaches to attend as Ulster and Leicester big guns get last shot
Warren Gatland will name his Lions squad next Thursday.
# Selection
Five changes as Ulster name team for Challenge Cup semi-final
Dan McFarland’s side face Leicester Tigers tomorrow night as they aim to take a step closer to ending a 15-year trophy drought.
# French Exchange
Mouthwatering Champions Cup draw as Leinster pitted against La Rochelle in semis
Ulster will travel to Leicester Tigers in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.
# marching on
Ulster progress to Challenge Cup semis with comeback win over Northampton
Dan McFarland’s side beat the Saints by eight points to secure place in the last four.
# Reaction
Ulster assistant boss rejects claims Harlequins devalued the Challenge Cup
Roddy Grant has been one of the few to defend the English side.
# Last 8
Dates and times confirmed for Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals
Leinster’s meeting with Exeter on Saturday will clash with the Wales v Ireland game in the Women’s Six Nations.
# over and out
Connacht's European season ends with high-scoring defeat to Leicester
Andy Friend’s men scored 32 points but conceded 48 in their Challenge Cup clash.
# second string
Connacht have no reason to fear much-changed Leicester at Welford Road
The Tigers have left out a raft of first-team players for tonight’s game.
# Tiger Raid
Friend insists Connacht out to break 'hoodoos' as he names side for Welford Road
It’s a showdown with Leicester tomorrow night.
# billy
Ulster boosted by Burns' return for do-or-die clash with Harlequins
Star men Iain Henderson and Marcell Coetzee are missing from the match day squad but Quins have rested nine key players including Joe Marler and Danny Care.
# Irish Abroad
'The Pro14 hasn't been competitive outside the Irish teams. It's the worst I have seen it'
Former Munster man Jerry Flannery is now in charge of the Harlequins defence.
# Euro Vision
Ulster determined to 'take step forward' insists Rob Herring
Ulster face Quins at The Stoop on Sunday.
# Challenge Cup
Boyle outlines lofty ambitions ahead of first visit to 'proper old school' Welford Road
Connacht take on Leicester Tigers in the Challenge Cup this Saturday.
# Moving On
'I'd love to come back, and to keep that door open I need to keep relevant'
Connacht attack coach Nigel Carolan is set to leave the province this summer.
# opportunity knocks
Tigers the focus for Connacht as they prepare to rotate in Pro14
Andy Friend and Denis Buckley have their eye on European silverware.
# Fixtures
Connacht to travel to Leicester as Ulster draw Quins in Challenge Cup
Both provinces will be away from home in the round of 16.
# Euro Vision
Leinster and Munster get home advantage in revised Champions Cup knockout format
Draws for Champions Cup and Challenge Cup knockout rounds will take place on 9 March.
# directive
EPCR confirms suspension of Champions Cup and Challenge Cup
A directive from the French government meant Top 14 clubs couldn’t play this month.
# concerns
Champions Cup under threat as EPCR wait on French government decision
The Top 14 clubs could be forced to withdraw from two rounds of games this month.
# Irish Abroad
Adeolokun among the ex-Connacht men involved in Bristol's European success
The likes of Conor McPhillips and John Muldoon have been influential behind the scenes.