'Two Season Extension' - Black Lion & Toyota Cheetahs to Remain in EPCR Challenge Cup - Ruck

‘Two Season Extension’ – Black Lion & Toyota Cheetahs to Remain in EPCR Challenge Cup

European Professional Club Rugby have confirmed that Black Lion and the Toyota Cheetahs have had their invitations to participate in the Challenge Cupextended for the next two seasons. Black Lion made history in the 2023/24 EPCR Challenge Cup, as they became the first Georgian club to participate in the competition.

Last season, Black Lion’s impact was immediate with a superb away victory against the Scarlets, while the Toyota Cheetahs’ fixture against Section Paloise in Amsterdam generated a sell-out attendance at the NRCA Stadium. The Cheetahs will once again be using the Netherlands capital as their base for European competition.

In addition, the recent appointment of the vastly-experienced Richard Cockerill to the dual role of Head Coach of Black Lion and the Georgian national team is certain to make the club an even more competitive proposition in the EPCR Challenge Cup in the future.

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.”

“The inclusion of Black Lion and the continuation of the Toyota Cheetahs’ participation reflect a commitment to widen the scope of our tournaments and to showcase new, exciting talent to fans worldwide. 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, said: “This is a hugely important moment for Georgian rugby and for the country. We’ve all been working hard for this – on the pitch and behind the scenes – for many years. 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. My personal gratitude to Dominic McKay and his amazing team for their hard work and support.” 

Toyota Cheetahs CEO, Ross van Reenen, said: “We are honoured that the Toyota Cheetahs have been invited to participate in the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons of this esteemed competition. We eagerly anticipate returning to Amsterdam as our home base, especially following the success of record attendance and sell-out at the NRCA Stadium. Being part of this prestigious international competition is significant for us, and I sincerely thank the EPCR and SA Rugby for this incredible opportunity.”

The 18 clubs in the 2024/25 EPCR Challenge Cup will once again compete in three pools of six, and the Pool Draws for next season are scheduled for Tuesday 2 July in Cardiff.