The EPCR has announced the format and fixture dates for next season's 2022/23 Champions Cup.
The competition's format will barely change from last year's Champions Cup, which may anger some after the backlash during last season's tournament.
Again there will be two pools of 12, while each club will be placed in their own mini pool of three where each team will play each other twice. The top eight sides from each of the two pools of 12 will advance to the last-16 round, which unlike last season will only be one-leg.
Given the amount of places available in the knockout stages, fans and pundits alike were bemoaning the ease at which teams qualified for the round of 16 last season. Connacht for example won just a single match in the pool stages, while Montpellier were accused of not caring about the Champions Cup after their 89-7 to Leinster, yet still advanced.
However, with the inclusion of the three South African teams the strength competition will go up a level, while lack of COVID will hopefully prevent any cancellation of matches and unfair awarding of points.
The competition will begin on December 9th 2022, with the round of 16 beginning March 31st 2023, the quarter-finals April 7th 2023, and the semi-finals April 28th 2023.
Next season's final, as well as the Challenge Cup final, will take place in the Aviva Stadium on the 20th and 19th of May 2023 respectively.
Below is the list of teams who have qualified for next season's Champions Cup, taken from the EPCR website:
TOP 14: Castres Olympique, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Stade Toulousain, Stade Rochelais, Racing 92, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Lyon.
Gallagher Premiership: Leicester Tigers, Saracens, 3 Harlequins, 4 Northampton Saints, 5 Gloucester Rugby, 6 Sale Sharks, 7 Exeter Chiefs, 8 London Irish.
URC: Stormers, Bulls, 3 Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby, Sharks, Munster Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, Ospreys.