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EPCR Challenge Cup: Invitees confirmed for next two seasons

EPCR have confirmed Georgian outfit Black Lion and South African side the Cheetahs have received an invitation to compete in the Challenge Cup for the next two seasons. 

Black Lion, coached by former Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill, made history last year by becoming the first Georgian side to compete in the competition. The Cheetahs have participated in the Challenge Cup since the 2022/2023 season, and have twice reached the knockout stages.

Like last year, the South African club, who now ply their trade in the South Africa Cup after leaving the Pro 14 in 2020, will play their home matches in Amsterdam.

In a statement, EPCR Chairman, Dominic McKay, said: “We are absolutely delighted to invite Black Lion to continue their EPCR Challenge Cup journey for the next two seasons.”

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“The Toyota Cheetahs have already enhanced the EPCR Challenge Cup with their performance last season, and we are confident that the Georgians’ passion and physicality will further raise the intensity of the tournament.”

Georgian Rugby Union President, Ioseb Tkemaladze, added: “This is a hugely important moment for Georgian rugby and for the country. We’re grateful to EPCR for taking a lead and showing the vision that is needed to further the global development and growth of the game.”

Toyota Cheetahs CEO, Ross van Reenen, also commented on the news, saying: “We are honoured that the Toyota Cheetahs have been invited to participate in the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons of this esteemed competition.”

The news comes amidst growing rumours of a Spanish team receiving an invite to the competition, but the continued support of the game in Georgia is a much welcomed boost.

The pair also now fully complete the 18-team EPCR Challenge Cup roster for the 2024/2025 season.

When is the draw for the Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup?

Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup draw-Credit: EPCR

The draw for next seasons Champions and Challenge Cup’s will take place on Tuesday 2nd July. Both draws will be streamed live on epcrugby.com.

The Challenge Cup draw taking place at 11:00 (UK time)/12:00 (South African time)/2:00 (Georgian time), and the Champions Cup draw taking place at 11:20 (UK time)/12:20 (South African time)/2:00 (Georgian time).