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Champions and Challengers

Dai Perk

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Evening, y’all,
So, I’ve been watching rugby for a little over a year now. In that time, I’ve come to love the various tournaments that happen outside of the different leagues ... obviously the RWC, but 6N was great, and looking back, I absolutely loved the 2 Euro cups...
Looking ahead to the Champions’ Cup, the fixtures look incredible. But looking at the Challenge Cup fixtures, I see a whole slew of teams I’ve never heard of. On one hand this is extra exciting, because I’ll get to see some sides from leagues I’ll never be able to watch on TV, but what happened? Where did the Russian teams come from? (Don’t say Russia) I’d thought these two Cups were strictly Prem, Pro14, and Top14; did I miss a big change? Or was I just way off in my understanding?
I know I should be counting the days until the RWC Final, but somehow these tournaments are taking over my thoughts...
 

The Alpha Bro

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I know I should be counting the days until the RWC Final, but somehow these tournaments are taking over my thoughts...
Been thinking about the Heineken Cup for nearly three weeks now myself!

I think there's a third tier tournament with an assortment of Spanish, Russian, Belgian, Germam, Romanian teams etc... (Pure guess work on the countries but you get the gist) and there's qualification spots through that for the challenge cup. I remember Connacht had to trek out to Siberia a couple of years ago so it's not new this year but maybe they increased the numbers?

That's all I can help you with, I don't focus too much on the challenge cup since they stopped playing Thursday night games. Very excited for number 5 this year though!
 

Groundhog

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It's a good question. Been this way for I would say 5 years now, but the way it works is you have 20 teams in the Challenge. 18 of them are drawn from your traditional Pro 14, Premiership and Top 14, and then two can qualify from what's called the continental shield, essentially Europe's third tier which includes teams from Italy (not Zebre or Treviso), Romania, Russia, Spain, Georgia, Germany and Belgium. So the two teams this year are Enisey from Russia and Calvisano from Italy. Russians always get a team in I'm fairly sure and it's normally Enisey and Connacht went to play Krasny Yar I think a few years back.
 

Dai Perk

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So the two teams this year are Enisey from Russia and Calvisano from Italy. Russians always get a team in I'm fairly sure and it's normally Enisey and Connacht went to play Krasny Yar I think a few years back.
Ahhhh, it all comes clear! Yeah, I had to do some googling to figure out who or what those two teams were. I'm super excited by this, I'm sure they're sort of expected to lose, but I love the chance to see more from other parts of the world... and who knows? As they say in the NFL, "They don't play the games on paper!" :)
 

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