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Bears to face Zebre and Perpignan in Challenge Cup pool stage

Bristol Bears will face Zebre and Perpignan in Pool A of the 2022/23 European Challenge Cup.

BUY SEASON TICKET

Pat Lam's men face Italian outfit Zebre in the competition for the third time in four seasons, as well as Top 14 opposition in Perpignan, who finished 13th in France's top division last season.

The Bears' last venture into the Challenge Cup saw them win a maiden European title, beating Toulon in a memorable final in Aix-en-Provence. 

KEY DATES

Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022
Round 2 – 16/17/18 December 2022
Round 3 – 13/14/15 January 2023
Round 4 – 20/21/22 January 2023

Fixture dates and times will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

The 20 EPCR Challenge Cup clubs were divided into three tiers in order to create two pools of 10 – Pool A and Pool B. Clubs from the same league cannot play against one another during the pool stage.

The Tier 1 and the Tier 3 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away over four pool stage rounds.

The Tier 2 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage. In order to adhere to the key principle of no same-league matches, Tier 2 clubs from the TOP 14 will only play against opposition from the URC, and similarly, Tier 2 clubs from the Premiership will also only play against opposition from the URC.

The event, which was streamed live on epcrugby.com, was presented by Craig Doyle (BT Sport) and Laura Tarbouriech (EPCR) with Ben Kayser and Elma Smit as ball drawers for the EPCR Challenge Cup, while Kayser and the Heineken Ireland Managing Director, Maarten Schuurman, drew the balls for the Heineken Champions Cup pools. The event scrutineer was Joe Tynan of PwC Ireland.

The exact dates of the pool stage fixtures in both tournaments, as well as venues, kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as practicable following consultation with clubs and broadcasters.

The 2022/23 EPCR season will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December, followed by a knockout stage consisting of a Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, culminating in the Dublin finals at the Aviva Stadium on 19 and 20 May 2023.


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