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European rugby set for overhaul as SA franchises step in

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European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) are in the process of finalising revised formats for the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments.

The changes come as the Pro14’s successor tournament, the United Rugby Championship welcomes the four former Super Rugby franchises from South Africa.

European rugby set for overhaul 

The EPCR have revealed that there will be some modifications to the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup formats in the upcoming 2021/22 season in order to assist with its stakeholders’ forward planning.

For the upcoming season, there will be no South African teams in European rugby but it is highly likely that one or more teams will be among the eight representatives from the newly-formed United Rugby Championship.

“As we put the finishing touches to a brand new shareholder agreement which promises to be positive for everyone involved in our tournaments, we are continuing to refine and develop the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, and next season will see a return to a full series of massively exciting and competitive matches across Europe,” said EPCR Chief Executive, Vincent Gaillard.

South Africa join the party

EPCR confirmed that discussions surrounding details of the formats for next season, and future seasons, within the framework of the new shareholder agreement would include the participation of South African teams.

Whether this will prompt a name change or significant rebranding is unclear at this stage.

2021/22 European rugby weekends

Round 1 – December 10/11/12

Round 2 – December 17/18/19

Round 3 – January 14/15/16, 2022 14/15/16

Round 4 – January 21/22/23, 2022

Round of 16 (1st leg) – April 8/9/10, 2022

Round of 16 (2nd leg) – April 15/16/17, 2022

Quarter-finals – May 6/7/8, 2022

Semi-finals – May 13/14/15, 2022

Challenge Cup final – May 27, 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Champions Cup final – Saturday, May 28, 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

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