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Details confirmed for 2022/23 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup

Next season’s Champions Cup will once again see 24 teams split across two pools of 12.

The Champions Cup trophy.
The Champions Cup trophy.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

EPCR HAVE CONFIRMED that next season’s Heineken Champions Cup will once again see 24 teams split across two pools of 12.

The 2022/23 tournament will be played out over eight weekends, with four rounds of matches in the pool stage, which will start in December.

The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will then qualify for the knockout stage which include a round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals before the final on 20 May at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

The 24 teams will include eight clubs from the each of the United Rugby Championship, Premiership and Top 14, with the URC contingent including South African representatives for the first time – namely the Stormers, Bulls and Sharks.

The draw for the pool stage will take place at the Aviva Stadium on 28 June, with the clubs split into four tiers based on their rankings. Clubs from the same league in the same tier will not be drawn in the same pool.

The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from each league will be in tier 1, the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs will be in tier 2, the number 5 and 6 ranked clubs will be in tier 3, and the number 7 and number 8 ranked clubs will be tier 4.

The tier 1 and the tier 4 clubs 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 2 and tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.

Meanwhile the 2022/23 Challenge Cup will consist of 20 teams; eight from the URC, six from the Top 14 and five from the Premiership, while the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs have also accepted an invitation to compete in the competition.

The clubs will be divided into two pools of 10, and like the Champions Cup, will be played out across eight weekends. Clubs will be separated into three tiers based on their rankings, and clubs from the same league will not play against one another during the pool stage.

The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from each league will be in tier 1, and 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, Aviron Bayonnais, USAP, 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 avoid same-league matches, tier 2 clubs from the Top 14 can only play against opposition from the URC, and tier 2 clubs from the Premiership can also only play against URC opposition.

The six highest-ranked clubs from each pool, as well as the 9th and 10th ranked clubs from each of the Champions Cup pools, will qualify for a round of 16.

2022/23 Champions Cup qualifiers

URC: Stormers, Bulls, 3 Leinster Rugby, 4 Ulster Rugby, 5 Sharks, 6 Munster Rugby, 7 Edinburgh Rugby, 8 Ospreys

Top 14: Castres Olympique, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Stade Toulousain, 5 Stade Rochelais, 6 Racing 92, 7 ASM Clermont Auvergne, 8 Lyon

Premiership: Leicester Tigers, Saracens, 3 Harlequins, 4 Northampton Saints, 5 Gloucester Rugby, 6 Sale Sharks, 7 Exeter Chiefs, 8 London Irish

2022/23 Challenge Cup qualifiers

URC: 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 Aviron Bayonnais, 6 USAP

Premiership: 1 Wasps, 2 Bristol Bears, 3 Worcester Warriors, 4 Newcastle Falcons, 5 Bath Rugby; Invited: Cheetahs 

Champions Cup/Challenge Cup fixture dates:

Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022

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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

Challenge Cup final – Friday 19 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Champions Cup final – Saturday 20 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin

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