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Revised Play-Off Format Agreed for 2015/16 Champions Cup

Revised Play-Off Format Agreed for 2015/16 Champions Cup

In order to facilitate fixture schedules in the Top 14, the Aviva Premiership and the GUINNESS PRO12, the Board of EPCR has agreed to revise the qualification play-off format for the 2015/16 European Rugby Champions Cup.

Nineteen clubs will qualify on merit for the 2015/16 tournament based on their finishing positions in the three leagues at the conclusion of the current season with the 20th place in the competition going to the play-off winners.
The new play-off format will get under way on May 23, 2015 with a match between the seventh-ranked club in the Aviva Premiership and the eighth-ranked team in the GUINNESS PRO12, or the highest ranked club not already qualified from the PRO12. Home advantage will be decided by a coin toss.
The winners of the Premiership v PRO12 match will then have home advantage the following weekend in the decisive play-off tie against the seventh-ranked club in the Top 14 on Saturday, May 30, 2015.
“With this revised Champions Cup play-off format, we have respected the wishes of the three leagues,” said EPCR Director General Jacques Pineau.

“The Board of EPCR has agreed an alteration to the initial format in the tournament Heads of Agreement, and we are confident that the play-offs will enhance what promises to be an exciting season of European professional club rugby.”
This season’s inaugural Champions Cup will be made up of five pools of four with the pool winners and the three highest-ranked runners-up securing spots in the quarter-finals.
The 20th European season will kick off on Thursday, October 16 when Gloucester meet Brive in Pool 5 the Challenge Cup, with Harlequins and Castres Olympique heralding in the Champions Cup on Friday, October 17.
Saturday, May 23, 2015 –
Match 1: Aviva Premiership (seventh-ranked club) v Guinness PRO12 (eighth-ranked team or highest ranked side not already qualified)
Home advantage to be decided by toss of coin
Saturday, May 30, 2015 –

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Winner of Match 1 v Top 14 (seventh-ranked club)
Winner of Match 1 will have home advantage