Parma, June 28, 2022 - The pools of the EPCR Challenge Cup, the European cup kicking off in the first weekend of December, were finalized this afternoon.
The Zebre, in their eighth year of participation in the competition, have been placed in the Pool A of the tournament in the company of three other United Rugby Championship teams (Glasgow Warriors, Connacht and Cardiff Rugby), three rivals from France's top TOP14 league (Toulon, Brive and Perpignan) and as many clubs from the English Premiership (Bristol Bears, Newcastle Falcons and Bath).
Two groups of 10 teams; each formation was assigned to one of three different groups ("tier") based on their respective standings at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Sisi and teammates, ranked in "tier 3," will take on two first-tier opponents: these are England's Bristol Bears and Sergio Parisse's Toulon for a total of four matches in the group stage, two at home at Parma's Stadio Lanfranchi and two away.
At the end of January, at the end of the preliminary phase, the highest scoring clubs from each group will qualify for the Challenge Cup round of 16 along with the four relegated teams from the Champions Cup.
Statements from Zebre head coach Fabio Roselli: "The Challenge Cup is a competition that we feel and look forward to with great enthusiasm and expectation. It's a tournament that gives us the opportunity to show that we are competitive, just as has emerged from past challenges, including with Bristol and Toulon. Our focus will be high. We will face teams of a certain caliber, but this does not scare us: enthusiastically embracing big challenges is and will be part of the identity of Zebre."
TEAMS PARTICIPATING IN THE 2022/23 CHALLENGE CUP
United Rugby Championship: 1 Glasgow Warriors, 2 Scarlets, 3 Connacht Rugby, 4 Lions, 5 Benetton Rugby, 6 Cardiff Rugby, 7 Dragons, 8 Zebre Parma
TOP 14: 1 RC Toulon, 2 Section Paloise, 3 Stade Français Paris, 4 CA Brive, 5 Aviron Bayonnais, 6 USAP
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Wasps, 2 Bristol Bears, 3 Worcester Warriors, 4 Newcastle Falcons, 5 Bath Rugby
THE 2022/23 CHALLENGE CUP ROUNDS
1st round - 9/10/11 December 2022
2nd round - 16/17/18 December 2022
3rd round - 13/14/15 January 2023
4th round - 20/21/22 January 2023
Eighth round – 31st March / 2nd April 2023
Quarterfinals - 7/8/9 April 2023
Semifinals – 28/29/30 April 2023
EPCR Challenge Cup final - Friday, 19th May 19 2023, Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Heineken Champions Cup Final - Saturday, May 20, 2023, Aviva Stadium, Dublin