Saracens, Glasgow Warriors and Stade Français will be guaranteed top seedings when the pool draw for the European Rugby Champions Cup takes place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on Wednesday.
This key event will get underway with the pool draw for next season’s European Challenge Cup at 1.15pm (Irish time) and the draw for the Champions Cup pools will follow immediately.
The event comperes in Neuchatel will be Craig Doyle (BT Sport) and Raphaël Ibañez (European Cup winner – France Televisions), with Dimitri Yachvili (Challenge Cup winner – beIN Sports) and Ieuan Evans (European Cup winner – Sky Sports) conducting the draws.
Twenty teams from the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and GUINNESS PRO12 have qualified on merit for the Champions Cup. The teams will be divided into four tiers of five and a draw will be conducted to establish Tier 1 with two of the three second-ranked sides – Bath, Munster and Clermont Auvergne – joining Saracens, Glasgow Warriors and Stade Francais in the top tier.
Once Tier 1 has been established, the remaining three tiers will fall into place. Tier 2 will include the three third-ranked teams from the leagues – Northampton Saints, Toulon and Ospreys – as well as the second-ranked team which was not drawn into Tier 1 and fourth-ranked side from the same league as the side which was not drawn into Tier 1.
Tier 3 will include the two teams ranked fourth which are not in Tier 2 as well as the three fifth-ranked teams from each league – Exeter Chiefs, Racing 92 and Leinster.
Tier 4 will contain the sixth-ranked teams from the leagues – Wasps, Oyonnax and the Scarlets – as well as Benetton Treviso and the winner of the Champions Cup qualification play-offs, Bordeaux-Bègles.
When the tiers are completed, the draw proper for the five pools will be made, and during the draw, some teams may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure that the key principles apply (see below).
In Tier 4, Wasps will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Aviva Premiership club and Oyonnax and Bordeaux-Bègles will be drawn into pools which each contain one other Top 14 club.
Montpellier, Sale Sharks and Connacht are confirmed among the Tier 1 clubs for the Challenge Cup which will be conducted on similar lines with four tiers and five pools.
In Tier 4, Worcester Warriors will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Aviva Premiership club.
Champions Cup Qualification –
For the purposes of creating the tiers, the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and PRO12 teams are ranked based on their league performances and on their performances in the knockout phases. For teams which did not qualify for the knockout phases of their leagues, or which were eliminated at the same stage of the knockout phase, rankings are decided by league table finishing positions.
|Rank||Aviva Premiership||Top 14||PRO12|
|1||Saracens||Stade Français||Glasgow Warriors|
|5||Exeter Chiefs||Racing 92||Leinster|
Challenge Cup Qualification –
For the purposes of creating the tiers, the teams are ranked based on their finishing positions in the Top 14, Aviva Premiership, PRO12, PRO D2 and Greene King IPA Championship leagues, or on their qualification from the qualifying competition.
|Rank||Aviva Premiership||Top 14||PRO12|
|3||Gloucester||Brive||Newport Gwent Dragons|
|4||London Irish||Grenoble||Cardiff Blues|
Qualifying Competition –
Cammi Calvisano (Italy)
Pool Draws – Key Principles:
– The 20 teams are divided into four tiers based on their qualification position from their leagues. This will be done where necessary by a draw
– The 20 teams will then be divided into five pools of four teams each
– Each of the five pools will have at least one team from each of the three leagues
– Each of the five pools will have one team from each of the four tiers
– There will be no more than two teams from the same league in a pool
– No pool will contain two PRO12 teams from the same country
– Teams from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 teams
2015/16 Tournament Weekends:
Round 1: November 12/13/14/15
Round 2: November 19/20/21/22
Round 3: December 10/11/12/13
Round 4: December 17/18/19/20
Round 5: January 14/15/16/17
Round 6: January 21/22/23/24
Quarter-Finals: April 7/8/9/10
Semi-Finals: April 22/23/24
Finals: May 13/14