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New signings can play for second club in Champions Cup, says EPCR

(Reuters) - European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said on Tuesday that players who have switched clubs ahead of the resumption of the Champions Cup will be eligible to compete for their new team.

This year’s Champions Cup quarter-finals will take place on the weekend of Sept. 19-20 after the knockout stages were initially postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

EPCR said in a statement it was waiving a rule which prohibits players from playing for different clubs in the same competition in the same season on an exceptional basis amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A player who has been selected in a matchday squad during the pool stage of this season’s Champions Cup or Challenge Cup will be eligible to play for his new club in the same competition during the knockout stage,” EPCR said on Tuesday.

The rule change means Northampton Saints, who have signed Nick Isiekwe on a season-long loan from Saracens, will be able to field the England lock when they face Exeter Chiefs on Sept. 20.

Scotland lock Jonny Gray, who joined Exeter from Glasgow Warriors, will also be eligible to compete for his new side.

The rule change also applies to the second-tier Challenge Cup, which will play its quarter-finals from Sept. 18-20.

EPCR also said there will be no limit to the number of non-European players who can be selected in a matchday squad during the knockout stages of both tournaments.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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