Johannesburg — The Emirates Lions and Free State Cheetahs will this weekend debut in the second tier EPCR Challenge Cup. The Lions will host Dragons on Saturday at 12.45pm, while the Cheetahs are away against Section Paloise aka Pau.
Here we look at how the group stages of the tournament are structured and how to qualify for the next round.
Clubs from the United Rugby Championship, the Top 14, and the Gallagher Premiership, as well as the Toyota Cheetahs, who are competing on an invitational basis, were divided into tiers for the purposes of a pool draw based on meritocracy from the 2021/22 leagues, or on other qualification criteria
Clubs were drawn or allocated into two pools — Pool A and Pool B.
• Clubs can only play against other clubs in the same pool
• Four match points for a win, two match points for a draw during the pool stage. A bonus point will be awarded to a club scoring four or more tries and to a club losing by seven points or fewer.
• If two or more clubs are equal on match points, their ranking will be determined as follows:
• The best aggregate points difference from the pool stage; or
• If equal, the number of tries scored in the pool stage; or
• If equal, the club with the fewest number of players suspended for disciplinary incidents in the pool stage; or
• If equal, by drawing lots.
Round of 16
The six highest-ranked clubs in Pool A and the six highest-ranked clubs in Pool B, and the ninth and 10th ranked clubs from each of Heineken Champions Cup pools, will qualify for the Round 16. The four highest-ranked EPCR Challenge Cup teams from each pool will have home advantage.