1. The PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP 2002/03 is a knock-out tournament - with 32 teams from eight nations.
2. Round 1 consists of the 16 seeded teams - six from England, six from France, two from Wales and one each from Scotland and Ireland - being drawn against the 16 unseeded teams.
3. They will play each other home and away on the weekends of 11/12/13 October (Leg One, unseeded teams at home) and 18/19/20 October (Leg Two, seeded teams at home). No two teams from any one country have been drawn together.
4. The 16 aggregate winners will go forward to Round 2 of the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP and play home and away.
5. The 16 unsuccessful teams will combine in a separate competition run on identical lines, the PARKER PEN SHIELD. All these matches will be played on the weekends of 6/7/8 and 13/14/15 December, with a draw taking place to determine the order of home advantage.
6. The last eight and then the last four in each competition will continue on the home and away format in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, with a draw taking place to determine the order of home advantage.
7. The two finals will be staged on the last weekend in May as straight winner-takes-all contests at neutral venues. The winner of the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP will automatically qualify for the Heineken Cup 2003/04 tournament.