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3 weeks 5 days ago #70097

EPCR is delighted to announce that Black Lion from Georgia and South Africa’s Toyota Cheetahs will continue their participation as invited clubs in the EPCR Challenge Cup for the next two seasons following approval from the tournament organiser’s Board.

The Tbilisi-based Black Lion and the Toyota Cheetahs, who will play their home matches in Amsterdam, have fulfilled EPCR’s participation criteria of having a home venue in Europe, as well as the ability to select competitive match day squads and to adhere to the required minimum standards for staging a fixture.

Qualified clubs for 2024/25 EPCR Challenge Cup (Draw on July 2)

TOP 14: Section Paloise, USAP, Lyon Olympique Universitaire, Aviron Bayonnais, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, RC Vannes

United Rugby Championship: Ospreys, Emirates Lions, Edinburgh Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets, Dragons RFC, Zebre Parma

Gallagher Premiership: Gloucester Rugby, Newcastle Falcons

Invited: Cheetahs, Black Lion

Last edit: 3 weeks 5 days ago by neill_m.

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3 weeks 5 days ago #70098

It sounds as if they are sticking with only seeding the champions and league winners in the Champions Cup and no seeding at all in the Challenge Cup.
No real harm to Connacht since we'd have had a mediocre seeding anyway, but it makes it even more of a lottery than it needs to be (last time Zebre, Dragons and Oyonnax all ended up in the same pool).

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3 weeks 4 days ago #70099

www.munsterrugby.ie/2024/06/19/format-an...5-season-pool-draws/

The 2024/25 EPCR Challenge Cup will once again have 18 clubs – eight from the URC, six from the TOP 14, two from the Gallagher Premiership and two invited clubs, Black Lion from Georgia and the Toyota Cheetahs from South Africa – competing in three pools of six, Pool 1, Pool 2 and Pool 3. (See all clubs below)

The following are the key principles integral to the EPCR Challenge Cup draw:

Each pool of six will contain two TOP 14 clubs.

As the draw will include four Welsh clubs – Ospreys, Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets and Dragons RFC – one pool will have two Welsh representatives.

Edinburgh Rugby and Zebre Parma, who are from the same URC Shield, cannot be in the same pool. For the purposes of the draw, they will be grouped with the Welsh clubs.

A maximum of three URC clubs can be included in the same pool.

For the purposes of the draw, the two Premiership qualifiers, Gloucester Rugby and the Newcastle Falcons, as well as Connacht Rugby from Ireland, cannot be in the same pool.

The Emirates Lions, as well as the two invited clubs, Black Lion and the Toyota Cheetahs, cannot be in the same pool.
Only two of the following clubs can be included in the same pool: Ospreys, Emirates Lions, Edinburgh Rugby and Scarlets.

Clubs will play four different opponents home or away during the pool stage and a limited number of same-league fixtures will be unavoidable.

To start the process, all 18 club balls will be placed in the drum, and any three balls will be drawn separately with the first club out of the drum going into Pool 1, the second club out of the drum going into Pool 2 and the third club out of the drum going into Pool 3.

The draw will then continue on an ‘open’ basis with the next club out of the drum going into Pool 1, the following club out of the drum going into Pool 2, and so on in ascending numerical order until all club balls are drawn or allocated provided that the key principles are adhered to.

If a club cannot be drawn into a pool in accordance with the key principles, then the club will be allocated to the next available pool. The process will then re-start at the pool into which the initial club could not be drawn.

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3 weeks 4 days ago #70100

Right, so we've joined the Premiership. Wasn't expecting that news. :P

Last edit: 3 weeks 4 days ago by pinky.
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3 weeks 4 days ago #70101

I'm totally confused by this rule:
"Only two of the following clubs can be included in the same pool: Ospreys, Emirates Lions, Edinburgh Rugby and Scarlets."

Ospreys, Lions and Edinburgh are the three highest placed teams from the URC so might make sense to avoid having them all together, but why Scarlets?

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3 weeks 4 days ago #70102

The upshot of having been declared honorary Englishmen is that we will be spared a potential trip to Johannesburg (until we go there in April).
We will have:
Two French teams.
At least one Welsh team.
Another Welsh or Edinburgh/Zebre
One of Black Lion or Cheetahs (we can't get Lions as that would make four URC teams)

Since there will be 3 URC teams in our pool, we will have to play one of them, and one of the three teams will have to play both of the others, which means we might not play either Black Lion or Cheetahs.

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2 weeks 2 days ago #70108

Based on some vague guesswork and amateur mindreading, I estimate that we will be playing two other URC teams in the Challenge Cup.
rugby.connacht.pink/

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1 week 6 days ago #70110

Draw starts at 11am on www.epcrugby.com/

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1 week 5 days ago #70111

So @Pinky, who are we going to get. Actual Prediction????
I think we'll draw Black Lion, but it'll be a home affair :huh:

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1 week 5 days ago #70112

As I say, I don't think we can play them ...
We will definitely get Black Lion or Cheetahs, but we probably won't know which team we don't play until they release the fixtures, and I suspect we won't play the invitational side.

Last edit: 1 week 5 days ago by pinky.

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1 week 5 days ago #70113

No Vannes :-(

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1 week 5 days ago #70114

We have to get Perpignan and Lyon.

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1 week 5 days ago #70115

My guess is we play Zebre at home and Cardiff away, as that is the opposite to the URC fixtures.
Lyon at home and Perpignan away would be preferable from a winnability perspective. Also I'd prefer not to go to the same place in consecutive seasons, not sure if EPCR take that into account in the mysterious algorithm.

Last edit: 1 week 5 days ago by pinky.

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1 week 5 days ago #70116

It's been a few years since we've been to Perpignan!!
Was really hoping that we would get Vannes!!!

Cardiff, Cheetahs, USAP, Lyon and Zebre!!
Now announce the fixtures so we can start booking :blink:

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1 week 5 days ago #70117

It's a very winnable pool, especially if we get Lyon at home. I don't expect Lyon to have the Challenge Cup on their priority list.
A decent pool performance could keep us at home for as long as we progress in the knockouts (though that all presupposes that we play more consistently than this season)

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1 week 5 days ago #70118

Last year the draw was on June 21st and the fixtures were confirmed on July 13th, so I guess we have about 3 weeks.

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