European rugby officials have altered their regulations to enable players who have already played with one club during the pool stages of the 2019/20 Champions and Challenge Cup tournaments line out with another club in next month rescheduled knockout stages. 

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Last April’s European rugby quarter-finals were postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and with numerous players moving clubs in the traditional end of contract expiry over the summer, EPCR have altered their small print to accommodate the changes. 

It will mean at someone like Kyle Sinckler can try to win the Challenge Cup with Bristol despite having played for Harlequins in the 2019/20 Champions Cup. Similar applies with Sinckler’s new teammate Semi Radradra, who can now also play for Bristol even though he helped Bordeaux reach the Challenge Cup quarter-finals earlier this year.  

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A statement issued by EPCR ahead of the September 17-19 quarter-finals in both competitions read: “The 16 clubs which have qualified for the quarter-finals will be required to register their squads on or before Tuesday, September 1, and to ensure that clubs are able to select the strongest possible matchday squads in the current circumstances, there will be no limit to the number of players they can register.

“In order that scrums can always be contested, clubs must ensure that their updated squads include at least twelve players who are suitably trained and experienced in front row positions. 

“As a number of players have recently changed clubs, it has been decided on an exceptional basis to waive the rule which prohibits players from playing for different clubs in the same competition in the same season. In other words, a player who has already been selected in a matchday squad during the pool stage of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup or Challenge Cup will be eligible to play for his new club in the same competition during the knockout stage provided his registration is approved by EPCR and the relevant union.

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“In addition, and also on an exceptional basis, there will be no limit to the number of non-European players who can be selected in a matchday squad of 23 during the knockout stages of both tournaments.”

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