SA teams play in Europe as they earn Champions Cup semi-finals ‘at home’ | Sport

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The Sharks have reached the Champions Cup knockouts. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

South African franchises will have to ‘host’ any Champions Cup semi-finals in Europe and not South Africa, competition organizer EPCR told TBEN on Monday.

In what used to be rugby union’s European continental club championship, three South African franchises – the Bulls of Pretoria, the Sharks of Durban and the Stormers of Cape Town – qualified for the first time this year.

The semi-finals of the Champions Cup will take place “in Europe”, according to an EPCR spokesperson, who confirmed the reports on the Irish website The42.ie.

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“This is an agreement with SARU (the South African Rugby Federation),” said the spokesperson.

However, the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks will be able to host games in South Africa in the last 16 and quarter finals.

“If the South African teams qualify for the semi-finals, the games will take place in Europe,” said another source close to the matter.

That can only happen if two of them qualify to meet in the same semi-final, in which case the match can be played in South Africa.

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Currently, ahead of the fourth and final day of the group stage, the Sharks have already qualified, while the Bulls and the Stormers are also both on track to reach the knockout stages.

The semi-finals are scheduled for the end of April before the final in Dublin on May 20.

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