The Pool Draw for the 2016/17 European Rugby Challenge Cup will take place in Neuchatel, Switzerland on Wednesday, 29 June at 13.00 (UK and Irish time)
The Pool Draw for the 2016/17 European Rugby Challenge Cup will take place in Neuchatel, Switzerland on Wednesday, 29 June at 13.00 (UK and Irish time).
The draw will be broadcast live on Sky Sports News, beIN Sports and Infosport+ and streamed live on www.epcrugby.com
The event comperes in Neuchâtel will be Alex Payne (Sky Sports) and Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions) with Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports) and Ieuan Evans (Sky Sports) conducting the draws.
The key principles and key steps integral to the Challenge Cup Pool Draw are explained below.
The 20 clubs which have qualified on merit from the Aviva Premiership, the Greene King IPA Championship, the PRO12, the TOP 14, the PRO D2, and from the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition will compete in the 2016/17 Challenge Cup in five pools of four.
The clubs are divided into four tiers based on the qualification positions from their respective leagues and on the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition. A draw will be carried out in advance of the pool draw proper to complete the tiers.
Each of the five pools will include one club from each of the four tiers.
Each pool will have at least one club from the Aviva Premiership, the TOP 14 and the PRO12.
There will be no more than two clubs from the same league in a pool.
No pool will contain two PRO12 clubs from the same country.
Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the Tier 4 allocation.
A club from the Qualifying Competition cannot be drawn into a pool which contains two TOP 14 clubs or two Premiership clubs.
Challenge Cup qualification
For the purposes of creating the tiers, the clubs 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 TOP 14
Brive La Rochelle Grenoble Pau Stade Francais Paris Lyon Bayonne
Enisei-STM (Russia) Timisoara Saracens (Romania)
Harlequins Gloucester Rugby Bath Rugby Worcester Warriors Newcastle Falcons Bristol Rugby
Cardiff Blues Ospreys Edinburgh Rugby NG Dragons Benetton Treviso
Tier 1 will include the three No 1 ranked clubs from the TOP 14, Aviva Premiership and the PRO12.
Tier 1 will also include two of the three second-ranked clubs from the TOP 14, Aviva Premiership and the PRO12. The two clubs will be decided by a draw in advance of the pool draw.
Tier 2 will include the three clubs which are ranked third from the TOP 14, Aviva
Premiership and the PRO12.
Tier 2 will also include the second-ranked club which was not drawn into Tier 1, and the club which is ranked fourth from the same league as the club which was not drawn into Tier 1.
Tier 3 will include the two clubs ranked fourth which are not in Tier 2.
Tier 3 will also include the three clubs which are ranked fifth from each league.
Tier 4 will include the remaining clubs from the TOP 14 and the Aviva Premiership and the two clubs from the Qualifying Competition.
EPCR weekends – 2016/17 season
Round 1: 13/14/15/16 October
Round 2: 20/21/22/23 October
Round 3: 8/9/10/11 December
Round 4: 15/16/17/18 December
Round 5: 12/13/14/15 January 2017
Round 6: 19/20/21/22 January 2017 Quarter-finals: 30/31 March - 1/2 April 2017 Semi-finals: 21/22/23 April 2017
Finals Edinburgh 2017
Challenge Cup final: Friday 12 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium Champions Cup final: Saturday 13 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium