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2023–24 EPCR Challenge Cup Rugby Fixtures annual second-tier rugby union competition

The 2023–24 EPCR Challenge Cup will be the 8th edition of the EPCR Challenge Cup an annual second-tier rugby union competition for professional clubs. Including the predecessor competition, the original European Challenge Cup, this will be the 27th edition of European club rugby’s second-tier competition.

The tournament will commence in December 2023, and conclude with the final on 30 May 2024 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

All 44 clubs in EPCR’s tournaments, including five first-time representatives from South Africa, now know their opponents for the 2022/23 season following the pool draws for the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup which were staged today (Tuesday 28 June) at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

2023–24 EPCR Challenge Cup
Tournament details
Countries England
 South Africa
Tournament format(s)Round-robin and knockout
Date9 December 2022 — 30 May 2023
Tournament statistics
VenueAviva Stadium, Dublin

The exact dates of the pool stage fixtures in both tournaments, as well as venues, kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as practicable following consultation with clubs and broadcasters.

EPCR Challenge Cup

The 2022/23 EPCR season will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December, followed by a knockout stage consisting of a Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, culminating in the Dublin finals at the Aviva Stadium on 19 and 20 May 2023.

The formats of both competitions are currently being finalised and an announcement is expected ahead of this season’s showpiece matches in Marseille on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 May.

2022/23 EPCR Challenge Cup weekends

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
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 20 May 2023

EPCR Challenge Cup Rugby Qualify Teams

Nineteen teams will qualify for the 2022–23 EPCR Challenge Cup from Premiership Rugby, the Top 14 and the United Rugby Championship as a direct result of their domestic league performance having not qualified for the Heineken Champions Cup. Plus one invited side making 20 teams.

The distribution of teams are:

  • England: five teams
    • Remaining teams in the Premiership that do not qualify for the 2022–23 European Rugby Champions Cup
  • France: six teams
    • Teams taking part in the 2022–23 Top 14 season that did not qualify for the Champions Cup
  • Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales, South Africa: Eight teams
    • The bottom 8 teams in the United Rugby Championship that do not win a shield 
  • Cheetahs (invited to participate)
RoundPremiershipTop 14United Rugby ChampionshipInvited
 England France Ireland South Africa Italy Scotland Wales South Africa
Preliminary stage
  • Wasps
  • Bristol Bears
  • Worcester Warriors
  • Newcastle Falcons
  • Bath
  • Toulon
  • Pau
  • Stade Français
  • Brive
  • Bayonne
  • Perpignan
  • Connacht
  • Lions
  • Benetton
  • Zebre
  • Glasgow
  • Scarlets
  • Cardiff
  • Dragons
  • Cheetahs


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