27 June 2024

~2 minutes read

Connacht in the hat for European Challenge Cup Pool draw next Tuesday

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Connacht in the hat for European Challenge Cup Pool draw next Tuesday

After a disappointing season in which Connacht finished outside the top 8 in the United Rugby Championship and failed to qualify for the European Champions Cup, Pete Wilkins’ side will be in the hat next Tuesday morning at 11am (July 2nd) for the Challenge Cup. The other three Irish provinces will be in the draw for the Investec Champions Cup which will follow at 11.20am. The finals of both competitions will be held in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff next May. Here’s all you need to know about the Challenge Cup draw:

EPCR Challenge Cup

  • There will be three pools of six
  • 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.
  • Since Edinburgh Rugby and Zebre Parma are from the same URC Shield they 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 Gallagher 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
  • A limited number of same-league fixtures will be unavoidable.
  • All 18 club balls will be placed in the drum. The first club out will go into Pool 1, the second going into Pool 2 and the third club out of the drum going into Pool 3.
  • 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.

Who has qualified for the EPCR Challenge Cup?

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

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

Gallagher Premiership: Gloucester Rugby, Newcastle Falcons

Invited clubs: Black Lion, Toyota Cheetahs

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