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Harlequins celebrate at the final whistle
Harlequins celebrate at the final whistle, Harlequins v Stade Francais, Amlin Challenge Cup Final, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, May 20, 2011 © Getty Images
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"There are genuine reasons for Irish optimism at this point stemming primarily from Leinster's impressive progress." Hugh Farrelly believes Ireland are on the right track
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European Challenge Cup
The European Challenge Cup, also known as the Amlin Challenge Cup for sponsorship reasons, is an annual rugby competition contested by the second tier club, regional and provincial teams from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and Romania.

Established in 1996, the tournament sees 20 teams compete in five pools on a round robin basis with the pool winners progressing to the quarter-finals. They are joined there by the three pool runners-up who did not qualify for the last eight of the Heineken Cup. The winners then go on to contest the semi-finals and the final with the latter staged on a neutral ground.

The competition has been dominated by English and French sides with Clermont Auvergne, Sale Sharks and Harlequins all having won the title on two occasions.

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    Harlequins celebrate at the final whistle
    © Getty Images

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    Harlequins celebrate a dramatic euro victory
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