All you need to know about how Tuesday's first ever European Rugby Champions Cup draw in Switzerland will work
The 2014/15 season will herald the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup run by the newly-constituted tournament organiser European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).
The Pool Draw for the 20 clubs which have qualified on merit for the European Rugby Champions Cup from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Pro12 is a vital component of the preparatory work which is already underway in advance of the new season.
The Pool Draw for the 2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup will take place in Neuchatel, Switzerland on Tuesday, 10th June at 12.30 (UK and Irish time) following the draw for the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
The draws will be broadcast live on BTsport.com, Sky Sports News, TG4 and Infosport +, and streamed live on epcrugby.com.
The key principles and key steps integral to the Pool Draw are explained below.
- The 20 clubs which have qualified on merit from the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and Pro12 Leagues will compete in the 2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup in five pools of four.
- The clubs are divided into four tiers based on their qualification position from their leagues. This will be done where necessary by a draw.
- Each pool will have at least one club from each of the three Leagues.
- Each of the five pools will have one club from each of the four tiers.
- 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 allocation of the Tier 4 clubs.
European Rugby Champions Cup qualification
For the purposes of creating the tiers, the Aviva Premiership clubs are ranked based on their League table finishing positions in advance of the knockout phase. The Top 14 and Pro12 clubs are ranked based on their League performances and on their qualification for the knockout phases. For clubs 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 RC Toulon Leinster Rugby
2 Northampton Saints Castres Olympique Glasgow Warriors
3 Leicester Tigers Montpellier Munster Rugby
4 Harlequins Racing Metro 92 Ulster Rugby
5 Bath Rugby ASM Clermont Auvergne Ospreys
6 Sale Sharks Toulouse Scarlets
7 London Wasps Benetton Treviso
Tier 1 will include the three number one ranked clubs from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Pro12.
Tier 1 will also include two of the three clubs which are ranked second from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Pro12 Leagues. The two clubs will be decided by a draw.
Tier 2 will include the three clubs which are ranked third from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Pro12. (Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers; Top 14: Montpellier; Pro12: Munster Rugby).
Tier 2 will also include the runner-up 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. (If Aviva Premiership: Harlequins; If Top 14: Racing Metro 92; If Pro12: Ulster Rugby).
Tier 3 will also include the three clubs which are ranked fifth from each League. (Aviva Premiership: Bath Rugby; Top 14: ASM Clermont Auvergne; Pro12: Ospreys).
Tier 4 will include the three clubs which are ranked sixth in the Leagues.
Tier 4 will also include the Italian qualifier (7th ranked club from the Pro12) and the play-off qualifier.
How the draw works
Upon direction from the MCs, one person will draw the club balls and another person will draw the pool balls.
At this point, only the Tier 4 clubs are confirmed. A draw has to be made to establish the five Tier 1 clubs, and once Tier 1 is confirmed, Tiers 2 and 3 fall into place as per the key principles above.
The draw now takes place to determine which two clubs from the three clubs ranked number two in the Leagues – ie. Northampton Saints, Castres Olympique and Glasgow Warriors – will join Saracens, RC Toulon and Leinster Rugby in Tier 1.
The Northampton, Castres and Glasgow balls are placed in the bowl, and two clubs are then drawn into Tier 1.
Tier 1 clubs
Once the Tier 1 clubs are established, the five Tier 2 clubs can be confirmed as follows: the three third-ranked clubs in the domestic championships – Leicester Tigers, Montpellier and Munster Rugby – will be joined by XXXXX who were not drawn into Tier 1, and by XXXXXXX who are the fourth-ranked club from the XXXXXXX
Tier 2 clubs
Once the Tier 2 clubs are established, the five Tier 3 clubs can be confirmed as follows: the two remaining fourth-ranked clubs, XXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXX, and the three fifth-ranked clubs, Bath Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne and Ospreys.
Tier 3 clubs
ASM Clermont Auvergne
The clubs in Tier 4 are already confirmed as follows:
Tier 4 clubs
Each of the five Tier 1 clubs are drawn, followed by a pool number for that club.
Draw for the five Tier 2 clubs.
As each club ball is selected, a draw is then made to allocate the club a pool from the available pools based on the key principles above. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles apply.
Draw for the five Tier 3 clubs.
Again, as each club ball is selected, a draw is then made to allocate the club a pool from the available pools based on the key principles above. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles apply.
In Tier 4, the two Pro12 clubs, Scarlets and Benetton Treviso, are drawn first. As per the key principles, Scarlets cannot be drawn into the same pool as Ospreys.
The three remaining clubs are then drawn into pools. Sale Sharks and London Wasps will be drawn into pools which contain one other Aviva Premiership club, and Toulouse will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Top 14 club.