EPCR Challenge Cup – Toyota Cheetahs And Hollywoodbets Sharks Add Their Names To Round Of 16 Playoffs


As we approach the end of the Pool Stage of the EPCR Challenge Cup, focus shifts towards those clubs who have secured their spot in the knockout stage, which begins with the Round of 16 in April.

Several teams have already booked their safe passage to the next stage, while others head into the final matches of the Pool campaign needing positive results to boost their chances of advancing.

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Which teams have qualified?

Montpellier Hérault Rugby (Pool 2): Winners of the competition in 2016 and 2021, Montpellier Hérault Rugby will be eyeing a third success in the competition this season and secured their Round of 16 berth with wins over Newcastle Falcons, Ospreys and Emirates Lions.

Benetton Rugby (Pool 2): Beaten semi-finalists last season in the EPCR Challenge Cup, Benetton Rugby advanced to the knockout stage for the fourth successive season thanks to triumphs over USAP, Newcastle Falcons and a Round 4 win over Montpellier Hérault Rugby, which secured home advantage.

Emirates Lions (Pool 2): Quarter-finalists last season, Emirates Lions will be eager to advance further this campaign and have qualified for the knockout stage following wins over USAP and Newcastle Falcons.

Ospreys (Pool 2): There will be Welsh representation in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 as Ospreys have secured their berth with victories over Benetton Rugby and USAP.

Gloucester Rugby (Pool 3): The two-time EPCR Challenge Cup winners have booked their ticket for the Round of 16 with victories over Black Lion, ASM Clermont Auvergne and Edinburgh Rugby. They secured home advantage with a win over Castres Olympique in Round 4.

Edinburgh Rugby (Pool 3): With a final-round win at Scarlets, Edinburgh eased their way into the Round of 16. They also defeated Castres Olympique and picked up a losing bonus against Gloucester Rugby.

Section Paloise (Pool 1): After a loss in Round 1 to Hollywoodbets Sharks, Section Paloise won their three remaining pool games to secure passage to the Round of 16.

Hollywoodbets Sharks (Pool 1): One of the favourites for the title, Hollywoodbets Sharks secured their spot in the Round of 16 with two wins in the first three Rounds, picking up try bonus points in all three games and a losing bonus against Toyota Cheetahs.

ASM Clermont Auvergne (Pool 3): With three wins, only losing to pool-toppers Gloucester Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne finished second in Pool 3 and secured home advantage for the Round of 16.

Castres Olympique (Pool 3): Two bonus-point wins were enough for Castres Olympique, who finished fourth in Pool 3.

Toyota Cheetahs (Pool 1): Toyota Cheetahs won two of their Pool 1 games and looked set for home advantage until the last second of their Round 4 tie when they lost out to Oyonnax Rugby. However, with two bonus points in that game, they secured their spot in the knockout stage.

Champions Cup Qualifiers:

Connacht Rugby, Ulster Rugby and Aviron Bayonnais qualified for the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 from the Investec Champions Cup, finishing fifth in their Pools.