Rugby: But why will South African franchises join the European Cup and European Challenge next season?

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The draw for the first round of the European Cup and the European Challenge 2022/2023 will be held this Tuesday, June 28 at noon. First, this year: five South African clubs join the competition. Thus, Stade Toulousain could end up playing one of their matches in … Durban! Explanations.

Cape Stormers, Pretoria Bulls, Durban Sharks, Johannesburg Lions and Bloemfontein Cheetahs. Five South African franchises that will compete in the European Cups next season! Rugby … The first three will play the Champions Cup, the last two the European Challenge. The organizers of the European Rugby Cups announced this opening on Thursday 2 June.

They will meet their opponents in the first round on Tuesday 28 June. And the Stade Tolousain could inherit one of those franchises.

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But how do South African franchises end up joining the European Cups?

The top three nominees have been playing the United Rugby Championship since last season with the Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian provinces. The Stormers finished 2nd, the Bulls 4th and the Sharks 5th. Members of a European League, these teams were therefore classified as a “classic” bias, along with formations such as the Irish of Leinster, Munster and Ulster or even the Scots of Edinburgh and the Welsh of the Ospreys.

Travel to Durban for Stade Tolousain?

Same process for the Lions, in the European Challenge. The Cheetahs were invited by the EPCR, organizer of the European Cups.

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Because, it must be said, these arrivals excite the great leaders of European rugby: “The arrival of the Stormers, Bulls, Sharks and Lions will bring to our tournaments a really interesting touch of rugby from the southern, global hemisphere. “Recognized players and new fans,” said Dominic McKay, president of the EPCR. offering solid commercial revenue to our leagues and creating an ever-increasing level of exciting games for our fans. ”

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Instead, on the pitch, he tenses many European rugby players, including France: “Can we still say European Cup? Questioned not long ago in the columns of The Office Clément Poitrenaud, later coach of Stade Tolousain. In my opinion, no. Sportingly, they are super exciting new challenges. It’s a different kind of rugby, against new players. After the format of the competition, I find it hard to understand. It’s like entering South Africa in the Six Nations Tournament. It would not be the same competition. I am still old and tied to a few traditions and it is true that this competition distorts me. It becomes another competition. That’s why this season is so important. Somewhere there is a bit of nostalgia to say that this is the last time we will play this competition. “

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Top 14 finalist, Castres, ranked in hat 1, will benefit from a fairly affordable paper draw, although it will be better to inherit hat 4 from London Irish than from Exeter on the English side (Edinburgh or the Ospreys). about the Celts). For Toulouse, ranked in the second cap as a semifinalist in the Top 14, will be Gloucester or Sale and Munster or … the Durban Sharks.

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