SOUTH AFRICAN rugby teams will play in the next season's Champions and Challenge Cup competitions, confirmed the EPCR on Thursday.
Teams like Leinster and Munster have already played against the Sharks, Bulls, Stormers,and Lions in the United Rugby Championship and will now more than likely meet in Europe's premier events
The draw for both the Champions and Challenge Cup will be confirmed in July, with both finals taking place in Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May next year.
💥 BREAKING! Five SA franchises will contest the @ChampionsCup and the @ChallengeCup_ next season
🗣️ "We can’t wait to get involved as it will only further enhance the local game"
🔗 https://t.co/dsX1AKeTYM@BlueBullsRugby @LionsRugbyCo @CheetahsRugby @SharksRugby @THESTORMERS pic.twitter.com/IXPEJDWdzv
— Springboks (@Springboks) June 2, 2022
Commenting on inclusion of South Africa's five teams, EPCR chairman Dominic McKay, said: "We are delighted to confirm that the South African clubs will be part of our expanded tournaments from the beginning of next season.
"The Stormers, Bulls, Sharks and Lions will all bring hugely exciting southern hemisphere rugby, well-known world-class players and broad new audiences into our tournaments, and we are pleased to welcome the Cheetahs into the EPCR Challenge Cup. The steps we have taken with our stakeholder leagues and with SARU ensure that we can further develop the tournaments as the pinnacle of global club rugby.
"This is a crucial step forward in bringing to life our vision of growing the game and our own tournaments, continuing to deliver strong returns for our leagues and creating an ever-higher standard of mouthwatering matches for our fans."
Leinster and Ireland scrum half Eoin Reddan spoke to Irish radio show Off the Ball and said the inclusion of South Africa's best teams will make it harder for the Irish provinces.
"I don't think it is going to get easier to win these trophies. I'm sure of that. I actually think the tournament could be heading to, potentially, a massive stage in world rugby, he said.
"I think it could become the tournament to win around the globe for players. Maybe even to the point where you haven't won [anything] until you've won this medal.
"That is to do with the South African players joining."