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Clubs with 14 EPCR titles between them, including as many as six former tournament winners, are still in the hunt for coveted silverware following today’s announcement of the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 fixture dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage.
Last weekend’s tense concluding pool stage round saw both South African representatives – the Emirates Lions and the Toyota Cheetahs – book their places in the knockout stage along with the No 1-ranked club in Pool A, RC Toulon, and the Scarlets who emerged as the No 1-ranked club in Pool B.
Also in the mix to punch their tickets for the 2023 Dublin finals weekend in May are last season’s EPCR Challenge Cup winners, Lyon, who qualified from the Heineken Champions Cup along with Racing 92, ASM Clermont Auvergne and the Sale Sharks.
Scarlets are first into action on Friday 31 March when they take on CA Brive at Parc y Scarlets live and free-to-air on S4C, and on the same evening, 2020 champions, Bristol Bears, host the 2019 winners, ASM Clermont Auvergne, at Ashton Gate live on Viaplay-Premier Sports.
RC Toulon, who have reached the tournament final on three occasions, will meet the Toyota Cheetahs at Stade Félix Mayol on Saturday 1 April live on SuperSport and Viaplay-Premier Sports, while the Emirates Lions are at home against Racing 92 on the same day again live on SuperSport and Viaplay-Premier Sports.
The Round of 16 concludes on the evening of Saturday 1 April with what promises to be a compelling Anglo-Welsh clash between Cardiff Rugby and the Sale Sharks at Cardiff Arms Park live on S4C and BT Sport.
EPCR CHALLENGE CUP – Round of 16
(Pool stage rankings in brackets / All kick-offs local times)
Friday 31 March
Match 4: Bristol Bears (A4) v ASM Clermont Auvergne (HCC9), Ashton Gate (20.00)
Viaplay-Premier Sports / beIN SPORTS
Match 8: Scarlets (B1) v CA Brive (A6), Parc y Scarlets (20.00)
S4C / beIN SPORTS
Saturday 1 April
Match 1: RC Toulon (A1) v Toyota Cheetahs (B6), Stade Félix Mayol (13.30)
France TV / beIN SPORTS / SuperSport / Viaplay-Premier Sports
Match 5: Stade Francais Paris (B4) v Lyon (HCC9), Stade Jean Bouin (16.00)
Match 7: Benetton Rugby (B2) v Connacht Rugby (A5), Stadio di Monigo (16.00)
Match 2: Glasgow Warriors (A2) v Dragons RFC (B5), Scotstoun (17.30)
Match 6: Emirates Lions (B3) v Racing 92 (HCC10), Emirates Airline Park (18.30)
SuperSport / beIN SPORTS / Viaplay-Premier Sports
Match 3: Cardiff Rugby (A3) v Sale Sharks (HCC10), Cardiff Arms Park (20.00)
S4C / BT Sport
Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April
QF 1: Winner Match 1 v Winner Match 5
QF 2: Winner Match 7 v Winner Match 3
QF 3: Winner Match 2 v Winner Match 6
QF 4: Winner Match 8 v Winner Match 4
NB The highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home advantage
Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April
SF 1: winner QF 1 v winner QF 2
SF 2: winner QF 3 v winner QF 4
NB The matches will be played in Europe and the highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home venue advantage
2023 EPCR Challenge Cup final: Friday 19 May; Aviva Stadium, Dublin