SA teams to join Heineken Cup - SA Rugby

SA teams to join Heineken Cup - SA Rugby

South Africa’s four United Rugby Championship teams and the Cheetahs will play in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

Bulls vs Leinster 25 September 2021
Photo: Twitter/BlueBullsRugby

The announcement was made by SA Rugby and European Professional Club Rugby on Thursday.

"In a landmark expansion of its tournaments, EPCR is delighted to confirm that the five leading clubs from South Africa will compete in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup from the 2022/23 season and beyond," read a statement by the EPCR.

Under EPCR qualification, the four Shield winners and the next four highest-ranks clubs in the final league table of the URC will take part in the Heineken Champions Cup, with the remaining in the EPCR Challenge Cup.


As a result, the Stormers, Sharks and  Bulls, all of whom finished in the top eight of the United Rugby Championship, will play in the Heineken Champions Cup, while the Lions and the Cheetahs will contest the EPCR Challenge Cup.



“Our five franchise teams will now play in two new territories against opponents we’ve never played before,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.


“It has happened earlier than planned, as we started this process more than two years ago after Super Rugby imploded, but this has now become reality, which really is great news for South African rugby.


Roux adds: “I firmly believe we are on the right track by playing in these competitions in the Northern Hemisphere, and we certainly can’t wait to get involved in the EPCR competitions as it will only further enhance the local game.”


The formats for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup will be announced shortly, in conjunction with details of the Pool Draws for both tournaments which will be staged towards the end of the month.

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