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European Rugby Champions Cup: All you need to know

The European Rugby Champions Cup has long been the pinnacle of northern hemisphere club rugby, with the best teams from the continent battling it out for supremacy.

A total of 24 teams from the English Premiership, French Top 14 and the United Rugby Championship compete to be crowned European champions in May.

The 2022/23 season carries extra significance, with the expansion of the United Rugby Championship to include South African sides meaning the Bulls, Sharks and Stormers will all make their tournament debuts this season.

The European Rugby Champions Cup is the equivalent to football’s Champions League and is one of two European club competitions in rugby union, with the European Rugby Challenge Cup acting as the second-tier tournament, much like the Europa League.

The 24 teams are split into two pools of 12 teams and each will play four matches with the most successful teams going on to the round of 16, the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final.

What: European Rugby Champions Cup 2022/23

Where: Various, final to be played at Aviva Stadium, Dublin

When: Friday 9th December 2022 - Saturday 20th May 2023

How to watch: BT Sport

Odds: Leinster 2/1, Toulouse 11/2, La Rochelle 13/2, Saracens 7/1, Racing Metro 15/2

When is the European Rugby Champions Cup 2022/23?

The European Rugby Champions Cup annually takes place throughout the winter and into the spring.

In 2022/23, it starts on Friday 9th December, with the first round running until Sunday 11th December.

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A second round of pool fixtures is played the next week and there is a similar double-header in January.

The top 16 teams will then qualify for the last 16 which takes place after the Six Nations between Friday 31st March and Sunday 2nd April.

Both the quarter-finals and semi-finals take place in April, while the final will be played in Dublin on Saturday 20th May, 2023.

Where is the European Rugby Champions Cup 2022/23?

The tournament takes place at stadiums in France, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

There will also be matches played in South Africa, with the historic first game to be played on Saturday at Kings Park in Durban where the Sharks take on Harlequins.

Can I watch the European Rugby Champions Cup 2022/23?

Every game of the European Rugby Champions Cup 2022/23 will be shown on BT Sport.

How many times has the European Rugby Champions Cup taken place?

The 2022/23 edition of the European Rugby Champions Cup marks the 28th season that the competition has taken place.

The first competition was staged in the 1995/96 campaign and featured 12 teams.

The first match was played between Farul Constanta and Toulouse on 31st October 1995, with both Emile Ntamack and David Berty scoring two tries each in a 54-10 win for the French club.

Who has won the European Rugby Champions Cup on the most occasions?

ClubWonYears won
Toulouse51995/96, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2009/10 and 2020/21
Leinster42008/09, 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2017/18
Saracens32015/16, 2016/17 and 2018/19
Toulon32012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15
Leicester22000/01 and 2001/02
Munster22005/06 and 2007/08
Wasps22003/04 and 2006/0
Brive11996/97
Bath11997/98
Ulster11998/99
Northampton11999/00
Exeter12019/20
La Rochelle12021/22

A total of 13 teams have won the European Rugby Champions Cup since its inauguration in 1995.

French giants Toulouse have won the European Rugby Champions Cup more times than any other club.

Les Rouge et Noir have won the title five times (1995/96, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2009/10 and 2020/21), while they have finished runners-up twice (2003/04 and 2007/08).

Irish side Leinster have won it four times (2008/09, 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2017/18) and have also lost two finals, including last season.

Saracens (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2018/19) and Toulon (2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15) have each taken the title three times, while Leicester (2000/01 and 2001/02), Munster (2005/06 and 2007/08) and Wasps (2003/04 and 2006/07) have all won it twice.

Brive (1996/97), Bath (1997/98), Ulster (1998/99), Northampton (1999/00), Exeter (2019/20) and La Rochelle (2021/22) have each won it once.

Overall French and English clubs have each won the tournament 10 times, while the Irish provinces have taken seven crowns.

There have been a number of unlucky losers, with both Clermont and Racing Metro losing the final on three occasions.

Who are the favourites for the European Rugby Champions Cup 2022/23?

Leinster are the 2/1 favourites in the To Win Outright Market. They lost last season’s final 24-21 to La Rochelle who are 13/2 to retain their crown.

Five-time winners Toulouse, whose magnificent back-line features a spine of Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack and Thomas Ramos, are sandwiched in between those two at 11/2.

Three-time winners Saracens are 7/1 To Win Outright, with Racing Metro 15/2 and Leicester 14/1, as they aim for a first Rugby Champions Cup title since 2002.

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