The fifth edition of the European Rugby Challenge has already started. It all began in on October 12, 2018. This year there are six European nations plus one Russian club which are going to participate. They include:- England, France, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Russia and Wales.
The European Rugby Challenge is the second tier of competition for country’s whose national team competes in the Sixth Nations Circuit. If you are a die-hard fan of rugby then you should know that the European Rugby Challenge replaced the European Challenge Cup. This was way back in 2014, although a lot of things changed, it is still organized by European Professional Club Rugby.
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All About the European Rugby Challenge Thus Year
The opening weekend for the 2018/2019 edition started off on a high note. This can be attributed to the strong lineup which was seen during the pool qualifications.
Two teams who were in the last seasons’ final had already secured a place in the competition. The
Cardiff Blues were able to edge out Gloucester Rugby 31-30 at a thrilling final. The match saw the
biggest attendance in that season of 32,543 at the Bilbao’s San Mamés Stadium. Actually, this was the second biggest attendance in the Challenge Cup's history.
Some former winners who are part of the European Rugby Challenge are:- Quins, Northampton Saints,
Sale Sharks, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Stade Français Paris and Pau. Russia’s Enisei-STM has booked a place once again in the European Rugby Challenge after winning the Continental Shield title. This is the second time they have retained the title in a consecutive season. However, Heidelberger RK who were the losing finalists in the Continental Shield title were ineligible to
participate in this years of the Challenge Cup.
Currently, there are two English Clubs and two French Clubs who are in top qualification for the cup. They are ASM Clermont Auvergne and La Rochelle who have secured 100 points in Pool 1 and Pool 4 respective. On the other hand, the Worcester Warriors and Sale Sharks are also in the lead in pool 2 and pool 3.
LA Rochelle was able to get on their successful winning streaks Timisoara Saracens 70-12 at the Stade Marcel-Michelin. Uldis Saulite was able to score for the Russian side who had a bad start at the TOP 14 team in Round 1. The Sale Sharks were able to rise to the top due to last weekend's game performance. Chris Ashton debuted in the competition with a hat-trick of ties over Connacht.
Harlequins are at the top of their pool 5 which is arguably the hardest. Benetton Rugby is a point away while are two points behind. Harlequins and Benneton lost their bonus points after a defeat. The other round match ups are still underway.
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