Tbilisi Caucasians – Challenge Cup qualifications play-offs announced

14-Aug-2014

The inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup is set to explode into action in mid-October with two compelling weekends of heavyweight clashes between European club rugby's professional elite.


Top 14 winners and defending European champions, RC Toulon, will kick off their Pool 3 campaign at Stade Mayol against Scarlets, with reigning Aviva Premiership champions, Northampton Saints, travelling to Racing Metro 92 in Pool 5 as the 20th season of European competition gets underway.

Guinness PRO12 title holders, Leinster Rugby, are at home against Wasps in Round 1 while Saracens renew their Anglo-French rivalry with ASM Clermont Auvergne who they famously defeated in last season's European Cup semi-final.

All 20 games in Rounds 1 and 2 will be broadcast live on either BT Sport or Sky Sports, with BT Sport kicking off their European coverage with the Pool 2 game between Harlequins and Castres Olympique at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, 17 October.

A brand new chapter in the European club story will begin a day earlier when Gloucester Rugby take on Brive live on Sky Sports in Round 1 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at Kingsholm Stadium on Thursday, 16 October, following today's (Thursday, 14 August) announcement by EPCR of the fixture schedules for 2014/15.

Click here for the 2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Click here for the 2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures

In Round 2 of the Champions Cup, the Recreation Ground is certain to be sold out when Bath Rugby host four-time European champions, Toulouse, in Pool 4, and there are unlikely to be any spare seats at either Thomond Park or Kingspan Stadium when Munster Rugby go head-to-head with Saracens and when Ulster Rugby host Toulon.

Following the Gloucester v Brive Challenge Cup opening tie, other games of note in Round 1 include the meeting of Cardiff Blues and Grenoble at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in Pool 1 as well as Exeter Chiefs' visit to Bayonne.

In Round 2, London Welsh's return to European competition against Bordeaux-Bègles at the Kassam Stadium on Thursday, 23 October will be live on BT Sport.

Two places in EPCR's second tournament remain to be filled following Challenge Cup Qualification Play-offs which will take place over two legs in September. The winners of the play-off between Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo and Georgian representatives, Tbilisi Caucasians, will qualify for Pool 1 where they will join Cardiff Blues, London Irish and Grenoble.

The winners of the play-off between Cammi Rugby Calvisano and Bucharest Wolves will compete in Pool 3 along with Stade Francais Paris, Newport Gwent Dragons and Newcastle Falcons.

The dates, venues and kick-off times for Rounds 3 and 4 in both tournaments will be announced in the coming weeks, with further details of the Rounds 5 and 6 fixtures confirmed in December after the completion of Round 4.

Notes

  • Both the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup consist of five pools of four clubs with the five pool winners and the three best runners-up qualifying for the knockout stages.
     
  • The competing clubs in both tournaments have qualified for the first time on merit from their respective domestic leagues - the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Guinness PRO12.
     
  • Qualification play-offs will be staged in September over two legs with two clubs securing places in the Challenge Cup.
     
  • EPCR's headquarters are situated in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
     
  • 2014/15 will be the 20th season of European club rugby.


European Rugby Challenge Cup Qualification Play-offs

Saturday, 20 September
Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo v Tbilisi Caucasians, Stadio Mario Battaglini; Bucharest Wolves v Cammi Rugby Calvisano, Stadium Arcul de Triumf.
Saturday, 27 September
Tbilisi Caucasians v Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo, venue TBC; Cammi Rugby Calvisano v Bucharest Wolves, Peroni Stadium.

Pool stage weekends

Round 1: 16/17/18/19 October 2014
Round 2: 23/24/25/26 October 2014
Round 3: 4/5/6/7 December 2014
Round 4: 11/12/13/14 December 2014
Round 5: 15/16/17/18 January 2015
Round 6: 22/23/24/25 January 2015

Knockout stage weekends

Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2015
Semi-finals: 17/18/19 April 2015

LONDON 2015 FINALS

European Rugby Challenge Cup – Twickenham Stoop; Friday, 1 May 2015 (19.45)
European Rugby Champions Cup – Twickenham Stadium; Saturday, 2 May 2015 (17.00)

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