Revised European Challenge Cup format revealed

Wednesday 24 February 2021 Written by: Adam

The Falcons have played two of their scheduled four group games, losing 33-20 at home to Cardiff Blues and winning 26-17 away at French club Castres in December.

With the final two group matches cancelled last month due to Covid-related travel restrictions, following in-depth discussions with its shareholder leagues and unions, organiser EPCR has announced a revised tournament format.

The 16 teams in the draw are listed below, with London Irish, Leicester Tigers and Ospreys guaranteed a home draw by virtue of having won both of their pool games. Eight of the 16 teams have dropped down from the Heineken Champions Cup.

The teams in the draw are: London Irish, Ospreys, Leicester Tigers, Cardiff Blues, Zebre Rugby Club, Agen, Benetton Rugby, Newcastle Falcons, Ulster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Northampton Saints, Bath Rugby, Montpellier, Dragons, Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors.

For the purposes of the draw, clubs from the same league cannot be drawn against one another, however, European Challenge Cup clubs and Heineken Champions Cup clubs can be drawn against one another.

The clubs which are not drawn against either London Irish, Ospreys or Leicester Tigers will have their opponents, and whether they will be playing at home or away, determined as part of the draw.

It has also been agreed that open draws will take place to determine the quarter-finals in both the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, allowing for the possibility of matches between clubs from the same league.

The draws for the quarter-finals will take place immediately after the Rounds of 16 draws on Tuesday, March 9. Further details regarding the event which will be streamed live on will be communicated early next month.


**Knockout stage draws:** Tuesday March 9

**Round of 16:** April 2/3/4

**Quarter-finals:** April 9/10/11

**Semi-finals:** April 30 – May 1/2

**Final:** Marseille – Friday May 21