European Challenge Cup

The European Challenge Cup is named after the Heineken Cup, the second European Cup competition for teams in the sport of Rugby Union. He has been wearing the 2009/10 season from sponsorship reasons the name of Amlin Challenge Cup, named after the British insurance group Amlin. A former sponsor was the Parker Pen Company, which is why the competition the name Parker Pen Shield (2001 to 2002) and Parker Pen Challenge Cup (2003 to 2005) contributed. At the competition, which is conducted by the organization European Rugby Cup involves teams from England, France, Wales, Ireland, Italy, Romania and occasionally Spain or Portugal.


The competition was under the name European Shield launched in 1996 to life, with 24 teams from England, France, Italy, Romania, Scotland and Wales, who were divided into four groups of six teams. In the following season, there were six groups of four teams. 1998/99 attended no English and Scottish clubs and the number of participants dwindled to 21 teams, which were divided into three groups Siebner; for the first time took part Spanish and Portuguese national teams. After the English and Scottish clubs participated again in the 1999/2000 season, is now 28 teams participating in seven groups of four; For the fourth time in a row won a French team the trophy.

2000/ 01 remained unchanged mode, but it took some exception, not a Romanian representative. First time it was an English club, the cup competition to decide for themselves. 2001/ 02 took over the Parker Pen Company sponsorship and the competition was called the Parker Pen Shield. It was attended by 32 teams participate in eight groups of four, the first time there were two representatives from Spain. In the season 2002/ 03 towards the competition was renamed Parker Pen Challenge Cup and they gave the group stage in favor of a pure knockout competition, with the first four rounds included both a first leg and a second leg. The cup winners qualify for the Heineken Cup.

Since 2003/ 04 Welsh clubs do not take part more, this delegate since regional selection teams. Since this all took part in the Heineken Cup, it was on the second stage no representatives from Wales; Romania also waived for three years to participate. In the 2005/06 season out ( withdrawal of the title sponsor ), there was a further restructuring, as it gave the pure knockout system and reintroduced a group phase, with 20 teams in five groups of four. Romania returned with a select team, while Spain and Portugal expose. Between 2001 and 2006 there were five English Cup Winners' Cup in a row. From 2007 /08, again took part in a Spanish representative.

2009/10 were several changes in force. Since then grab the third - to fifth- best runners of the Heineken Cup at the quarter-finals in the action a. After the decline of the third professional team represents Scotland no representative in this competition more; only if one of the two remaining teams from the Heineken Cup " descends ", it takes part in the European Challenge Cup. Furthermore, the Cup Winners' Cup for the Heineken Cup the following season will automatically qualify. In the 2009/10 season, the Cardiff Blues were the first non-French or non-English side to have the European Challenge Cup to decide for themselves. 2012/13 there was with Leinster Rugby the first Irish Cup winner ever.

Current mode

All teams in the Aviva Premiership English, French Top 14 and the International Pro12 who could not qualify for the high-order Heineken Cup, are eligible for the European Challenge Cup. From the Italian league Campionato di Excellenza take part the top four teams. Also eligible is the Romanian team selection Bucureşti Rugby, which is compiled specifically for this competition. In addition, a representative of Spain or Portugal.

There shall be five groups of four teams. Each team will play one home and one away match against all opponents in the group. A win there are four points, two points for a draw. If a game with less than seven points difference lost or scored a team of at least four experiments, there is a bonus point.

Up to and including the 2008/ 09 season, the five group winners and the three best runners qualified for the quarter-finals. Since the 2009/10 season, only the group winners reach the quarter-finals. The three remaining quarter-finalists are the third - to fifth- best second in the Heineken Cup the same season. The home game right in the quarterfinals will be determined on the basis of a set list, with the losers from the Heineken Cup, the seats are automatically allocated to 5-7. For the semi-final home game law will be drawn, while the final will be held at a predetermined location.

All finals