With Europe’s big quarter-finals weekend approaching fast, EPCR has announced the key dates for the 2016/17 season ahead of the knockout stages of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
Next season's tournaments will get underway with two rounds in October, followed by Rounds 3 and 4 in December, and as is customary, the pool stages will reach their conclusion with Rounds 5 and 6 in January 2017.
The quarter-final matches will be staged at the end of March and the beginning of April 2017 with the semi-finals played three weeks later.
Then European club rugby's showcase weekend will return to Edinburgh for the first time since 2009 when both the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals will be held at BT Murrayfield Stadium on 12 and 13 May 2017.
Nineteen clubs will qualify on merit for next season's Champions Cup from the Aviva Premiership (six qualifiers), the PRO12 (seven qualifiers including at least one club from each of Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) and the TOP 14 (six qualifiers).
The 20th place will go to the winner of the Challenge Cup and if the Challenge Cup winner is already qualified, that club will earn a place for the highest-ranked club from its league which has not already qualified.
It should be noted that the play-off format to decide the 20th place in the 2017/18 Champions Cup will resume with the fixtures to be scheduled in May 2017.
The remaining 18 clubs from the Aviva Premiership, the PRO12 and the TOP 14 which have not qualified for the Champions Cup will play in the 2016/17 Challenge Cup. The 19th and 20th places will go to the two winners from the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition.
EPCR weekends – 2016/17 season
Round 1: 13/14/15/16 October
Round 2: 19/20/21/22 October
Round 3: 8/9/10/11 December
Round 4: 15/16/17/18 December
Round 5: 12/13/14/15 January 2017
Round 6: 19/20/21/22 January 2017
Quarter-finals: 30/31 March / 1/2 April 2017
Semi-finals: 21/22/23 April 2017
Finals Edinburgh 2017
European Rugby Challenge Cup final: Friday 12 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium
European Rugby Champions Cup final: Saturday 13 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium