2021/22 Challenge Cup fixtures and format announced
Saracens have been drawn in to Pool Three for the Challenge Cup, alongside London Irish, Edinburgh Rugby, CA Brive and Pau.
A modified Challenge Cup format will see 15 clubs competing in three pools of five. The clubs have been allocated into the pools based on their rankings from last season’s leagues and the pool stage will be played over five rounds starting on the weekend of 10/11/12 December and finishing on the weekend of 8/9/10 April 2022.
A Round of 16 will be played on the weekend of 15/16/17 April 2022, followed by quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the final at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on 27 May 2022.
Clubs will only play against opponents from their own pool, and one club in each pool will have a bye during each round. A limited number of fixtures will see clubs playing against opponents from the same league.
Saracens will kick off their Pool C campaign with a home tie against Edinburgh Rugby on 10/11/12 December, before a trip to face Pau the following weekend.
The Men in Black have a bye on 14/15/16 January, and then welcome London Irish to StoneX for Round Four seven days later. The group stage draws to a close on 8/9/10 April, with Sarries visiting CA Brive in France.
The three highest-ranked clubs from each pool, and the highest-ranked fourth-placed club, as well as the three clubs ranked 9 to 11 from each of the Heineken Champions Cup pools, will qualify for the Round of 16.
The exact dates of the pool stage fixtures in both tournaments, as well as kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as possible following further consultation with clubs and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.
2021/22 CHALLENGE CUP POOLS
RC Toulon, Newcastle Falcons, Zebre Rugby Club, Worcester Warriors, Biarritz Olympique
Dragons, Lyon, Gloucester Rugby, Benetton Rugby, USAP
London Irish, Edinburgh Rugby, CA Brive, Pau, Saracens
Round 1 – 10/11/12 December
Round 2 – 17/18/19 December
Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022
Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022
Round 5 – 8/9/10 April 2022
Challenge Cup Round of 16 – 15/16/17 April 2022
Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022
Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022
Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille