The EPCR have decided against retaining the two-legged Round of 16 in next season's Heineken Champions Cup.

Tournament organisers have confirmed the provisional dates for the 2022/23 competition, which will be played over eight rounds rather than the nine of this season.

The final of the Champions Cup will be played on Saturday 20 May 2023, with the Challenge Cup taking place the previous night. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London had previously been confirmed as the host venue, although there is no mention of the stadium in this morning's EPCR update.

The pool stage will begin on the weekend of 9-11 December, and will be played across four rounds, two before Christmas and two in January.

The Round of 16 will be played as one off games from 31 March to 2 April, with the quarter-finals a week later.

There will then be a three week break until the semi-finals on 28-30 April, before the final in May.

While the EPCR have announced the dates of next season's competition, they have not revealed the exact format of the pool stages, which they say will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

With just four rounds of pool games scheduled, it's likely that the format of the last two seasons will be retained, which saw the 24 teams split into two large groups of 12, with the top eight teams on each side of the draw advancing to the last 16.

No reason has been given for the removal of two-legged Round of 16 games, or the shortening of the competition from nine weeks to eight, although it's possible organisers are keeping a week in reserve in case any pool matches need to be postponed, having seen multiple games fall victim to Covid-19 cancellations in recent seasons.

Next season's competition will see eight teams each from the United Rugby Champions, Premiership and Top 14, with the URC's South African sides expected to be given the green light to compete in the Champions and Challenge Cup this week.

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