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European Rugby Challenge Cup Draw

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A thrilling pool stage has come to its conclusion in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and there will be four Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs in the quarter-finals.

Each of the top three seeds are from these shores after Harlequins, reigning champions Gloucester Rugby and Sale Sharks each topped their pools, with 25, 24 and 23 points respectively.

And London Irish snuck into the last eight with a timely bonus-point victory over Agen on Saturday – setting up an enticing knockout clash with Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Harlequins.
 
The qualifiers for the 2015/16 European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-finals and their rankings at the conclusion of the pool stage are as follows:
 
1  Harlequins (winner Pool 3 – 25 points)
2  Gloucester Rugby (winner Pool 4 – 25 points)
3  Sale Sharks (winner Pool 2 – 23 points)
4  Grenoble (winner Pool 5 – 22 points)
5  Connacht Rugby (winner Pool 1 – 19 points)
6  Montpellier (best pool runner-up – 20 points)
7 Newport Gwent Dragons (second best pool runner-up – 20 points)
8 London Irish (third best pool runner-up – 17 points)
 
The quarter-final matches to be played on 7/8/9/10 April are as follows:
 
QF1: (1) Harlequins v London Irish (8)
QF2: (4) Grenoble  v Connacht Rugby (5)
QF3: (3) Sale Sharks v Montpellier (6)
QF4: (2) Gloucester Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons (7)
 
The exact dates, kick-off times and venues for the matches will be confirmed towards the end of next week.
 
Following confirmation of the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final line-up, the 2015/16 semi-final pairings will be as follows:
 
The winner of QF1: Harlequins v London Irish will play the winner of QF2: Grenoble v Connacht Rugby in Semi-final 1.
 
The winner of QF3: Sale Sharks v Montpellier will play the winner of QF4: Gloucester Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons in Semi-final 2.
 
The new format for the semi-final matches in the Challenge Cup recognises performances by clubs during the pool stage as well as the achievement of winning a quarter-final match away from home.
 
The following clubs will have home venue advantage in their respective semi-final matches:
 
SEMI-FINAL 1
If Harlequins (ranked No 1) and Grenoble (ranked No 4) win their quarter-finals, Harlequins will have home venue advantage.
 
If Harlequins (ranked No 1) and Connacht Rugby (ranked No 5) win their quarter-finals, Connacht Rugby will have home venue advantage.
 
If London Irish (ranked No 8) and Grenoble (ranked No 4) win their quarter-finals, London Irish will have home venue advantage.
 
If London Irish (ranked No 8) and Connacht Rugby (ranked No 5) win their quarter-finals, Connacht Rugby will have home venue advantage.
 
SEMI-FINAL 2
If Sale Sharks (ranked No 3) and Gloucester Rugby (ranked No 2) win their quarter-finals, Gloucester Rugby will have home venue advantage.
 
If Sale Sharks (ranked No 3) and Newport Gwent Dragons (ranked No 7) win their quarter-finals, Newport Gwent Dragons will have home venue advantage.
 
If Montpellier (ranked No 6) and Gloucester Rugby (ranked No 2) win their quarter-finals, Montpellier will have home venue advantage.
 
If Montpellier (ranked No 6) and Newport Gwent Dragons (ranked No 7) win their quarter-finals, Montpellier will have home venue advantage.
 

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