EPCR today announced that the finals of the new-look European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup will be held in London next May.
The Challenge Cup decider will go ahead at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, 1 May 2015 with the Champions Cup final played the following day at the 82,000-capacity Twickenham Stadium as the culmination of the 20th season in the history of European club rugby.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) was awarded the inaugural finals by the EPCR Board following a competitive tender process which was open to the six countries which provide the clubs for the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Guinness PRO12 competitions. The RFU's successful bid will guarantee the best possible financial return to the clubs.
Next year's showpiece match will be the fifth time that Twickenham Stadium has staged a major European final and the iconic venue set an attendance record for a European decider in 2012 when 81,744 fans packed in to witness Leinster Rugby's victory over Irish rivals, Ulster Rugby.
The atmospheric Twickenham Stoop will also be hosting a European final for the fifth time when the Challenge Cup kicks off EPCR's weekend festival of rugby next May. On the last occasion that The Stoop staged a Challenge Cup decider, Biarritz Olympique defeated RC Toulon in 2012.
Tickets for the two finals which will showcase the best of European professional club rugby will go on public sale from Monday, 18 August, while previous purchasers of European finals tickets and epcrugby.com ezine subscribers will be eligible to buy Golden Tickets which cover both games from today (Tuesday, 12 August).
EPCR Director and Executive Committee member, Bruce Craig, said: "In the inaugural season of the tournaments, the Board of EPCR took the view that fairest and the most commercially-sound approach was to award the finals based on a competitive tender process.
"The RFU's bid was extremely strong and the fact that we are going to London for the 2015 finals is hugely positive for European club rugby. Twickenham Stadium and the Twickenham Stoop tick every box for fans wishing to attend both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals next May and with both venues steeped in rugby history, we are certain that the weekend will be an unforgettable experience.”
RFU Chief Executive, Ian Ritchie, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen as host for EPCR's inaugural finals. This is a particularly exciting time for European club rugby as we move into a new era, and we see both games as constituting one marvellous event which will bring tens of thousands of supporters from across Europe into London and Twickenham.”
David Ellis, Harlequins Chief Executive, said: "We're really pleased to be hosting the inaugural final of this competition in conjunction with EPCR and the RFU. This will be the fifth time The Stoop has staged a Challenge Cup final, more than any other venue in the 20 years of European professional club rugby, and something that Harlequins is very proud of. We are determined to make this event the best yet and look forward to welcoming the finalists next May.”
LONDON 2015 FINALS
European Rugby Challenge Cup – Twickenham Stoop; Friday, 1 May 2015 (7.45)
European Rugby Champions Cup – Twickenham Stadium; Saturday, 2 May 2015 (5.00)
TICKET PRICES (full details on epcrugby.com)
Golden Tickets: Category D £50; Category C £75; Category B £99; Category A £115
European Rugby Champions Cup: Category D £38; Category C £48; Category B £64; Category A £80
European Rugby Challenge Cup: Category D £20; Category C £35; Category B £40; Category A £45
The 2014/15 fixtures for the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup will be announced on Thursday.
Both the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup consist of five pools of four clubs with the five pool winners and the three best runners-up qualifying for the knockout stages.
The competing clubs in both tournaments have qualified for the first time on merit from their respective domestic leagues - the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Guinness PRO12.
A qualification play-off tournament will be staged in September with two clubs securing their places in the Challenge Cup.
EPCR's headquarters are situated in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
The Board of EPCR is made up of the following directors: Rob Andrew (RFU), Philip Browne (IRFU), Bruce Craig (PRL), Mark Davies (RRW), Mark Dodson (SRU), René Fontes (LNR), Fabrizio Gaetaniello (FIR), Roger Lewis (WRU), Ian McLauchlan (SRU), Paul McNaughton (IRFU), Michel Palmié (FFR) and Andrea Rinaldo (FIR). The members of EPCR's Executive Committee are: Bruce Craig, René Fontes and Paul McNaughton, with Jacques Pineau as Director General.
2014/15 will be the 20th season of European club rugby.
Pool stage weekends
Round 1: 16/17/18/19 October 2014
Round 2: 23/24/25/26 October 2014
Round 3: 4/5/6/7 December 2014
Round 4: 11/12/13/14 December 2014
Round 5: 15/16/17/18 January 2015
Round 6: 22/23/24/25 January 2015
Knockout stage weekends
Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2015
Semi-finals: 17/18/19 April 2015
Finals: 1/2 May 2015