Ahead of the December kick-off of the 2021/22 European club season, EPCR is pleased to announce a rebrand of the Challenge Cup incorporating a new, dynamic visual identity for the tournament.
Officially renamed the ‘EPCR Challenge Cup’, the new look and feel has emerged following feedback from fans worldwide, and EPCR has stepped up to create an enduring identity for the future.
Content strands celebrating diversity, embracing inclusion and promoting accessibility will be available primarily on a new fan-focused tournament Instagram account (@epcr_challengecup) and this will complement additional material on EPCR’s other social media channels as well as on www.epcrugby.com
Formulated in conjunction with the creative agency, Designwerk, the rebrand is aimed at engaging a new generation of rugby fans while acknowledging the established supporters of the tournament since its inception in 1996.
As previously outlined, a modified format for the 2021/22 season will see 15 clubs with 10 European titles between them competing in three pools of five. Three-time finalists, RC Toulon, two-time winners, Gloucester Rugby, and Saracens, are among the favourites to lift silverware in Marseille next May, while another former Challenge Cup winner, Biarritz Olympique, are making a welcome return to European competition after an absence of seven years.
The clubs were allocated into three 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.
The three highest-ranked clubs from each pool, and the highest-ranked fourth-placed club, as well as the three clubs ranked nine 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, as well as kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced shortly.
2021/22 EPCR CHALLENGE CUP POOLS
Pool A: RC Toulon, Newcastle Falcons, Zebre Rugby Club, Worcester Warriors, Biarritz Olympique.
Pool B: Dragons, Lyon, Gloucester Rugby, Benetton Rugby, USAP.
Pool C: London Irish, Edinburgh Rugby, CA Brive, Section Paloise, 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
Challenge Cup Round 5 – 8/9/10 April 2022
EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 – 15/16/17 April 2022
Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022
Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022
EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille