Challenge Cup

EPCR tournament formats for 2020/21 season announced

Following in-depth discussions with its shareholder leagues and unions, EPCR can today (Wednesday, 24 February) announce revised tournament formats for the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

Both tournaments will resume with Rounds of 16 matches on the weekend of 2/3/4 April and the knockout stages will continue with quarter-finals, semi-finals and the scheduled Marseille finals on EPCR’s allocated weekends in April and May.

As approved by the EPCR Board, the Rounds of 16 and quarter-final matches in both tournaments will now be decided by draws which will take place on Tuesday, 9 March.

Regarding the Challenge Cup, the eight highest-ranked clubs from the preliminary stage at the time of the suspension of the tournament and the eight clubs which have not qualified for the knockout stage of Heineken Champions Cup will compete in the Round of 16.

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

Clubs which have won both Challenge Cup preliminary stage matches on the pitch - ie. where results were not impacted by COVID-19 — will play at home in the Round of 16. Therefore, London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers will each be guaranteed a home fixture.

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, 9 March. Further details regarding the event which will be streamed live on will be communicated early next month.



Challenge Cup — 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

NB - London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers are guaranteed home matches in the Round of 16.



Knockout Stage Draws: Tuesday 9 March

Rounds of 16: 2/3/4 April

Quarter-finals: 9/10/11 April

Semi-finals: 30 April — 1/2 May

Challenge Cup final: Marseille - Friday, 21 May

Heineken Champions Cup final: Marseille - Saturday, 22 May