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Friday, September 30, 2022

Enticing clashes await for SA teams as Heineken Cup fixtures revealed

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Johannesburg – South Africa’s top rugby teams know exactly what is in front of them in the Heineken Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup after the fixtures were announced on Thursday.

The Stormers, Sharks and Bulls won through to the prestigious Heineken Cup, a 24-team competition featuring the elite of Europe and South Africa, while the Lions and Cheetahs will feature in the second-tier, Challenge Cup.

Last month the pool draws were made and now the actual fixtures have been revealed.

The competitions kick off on the weekend of December 9 to 11 and URC winners, the Stormers, will have a first competitive outing on French soil when they take on Clermont Auvergne, while the Bulls and the Sharks will be at home against Lyon and Harlequins respectively.

The Lions will make their debut in the Challenge Cup away to Worcester Warriors, while the Cheetahs, who will play their two ‘home’ matches in Pool B at Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma, go head-to-head with Section Paloise in the south-west of France in Round 1.

In Round 2, the Stormers host London Irish; the Sharks travel to Bordeaux; the Bulls are away to Exeter Chiefs while the Lions are at home to Stade Francais and the Cheetahs host the Scarlets.

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Heineken Champions Cup

• 24 elite clubs
• 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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