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Champions Cup Draw Explained

7th June 2017 By The Editor

Champions Cup Draw Explained

Today’s Pool Draw explained where Munster will learn their opposition for the 2017/18 Champions Cup pool stages.

Taking place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland at 1.20pm (Irish), the draw can be watched live here:

In total, 20 clubs from across the Premiership, Guinness PRO12 and Top 14 will compete in the 2017/18 Champions Cup, doing so in five pools of four.

Clubs are divided into four tiers based on their status as championship winners and/or qualification positions in their respective league tables.

Despite Munster finishing out the regular season as table toppers in the Guinness PRO12, Scarlets’ victory in the Final sees them enter Tier 1 automatically alongside Premiership winners Exeter Chiefs and Top 14 champions Clermont Auvergne.  With five places available in Tier 1, Munster will enter a draw alongside Wasps and Toulon (English and French runners up) for the remaining two spots.

Once tiers are completed, the main draw for the five pools will be made, during which, some clubs may need to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure that key principles apply.

Key Principles Explained

  • The 20 clubs which have qualified on merit from the Premiership, the Guinness PRO12 and the Top 14 will compete in the 2017/18 Champions Cup in five pools of four.
  • The clubs are divided into four tiers based on their status as championship winners and/or their qualification positions in their league tables. This will be done by a draw in advance of the main pool 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, hence Munster cannot be drawn against Leinster or Ulster.
  • Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 clubs.

Draw Tiers

Once Tier 1 has been established, the remaining three tiers will fall into place. Tier 2 will include the three third-ranked clubs from the leagues – Saracens, Leinster Rugby and La Rochelle – as well as the second-ranked club which was not drawn into Tier 1 – potentially Munster – and the fourth-ranked club 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 as well as the three fifth-ranked clubs from each league – Bath Rugby, Montpellier and Ulster Rugby.

Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league – Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors and Castres Olympique – as well as Benetton Rugby and the winner of the Champions Cup play-offs, Northampton Saints.

In Tier 4, Harlequins and Northampton Saints will be drawn into pools which contain one other Premiership club, and Castres will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Top 14 club.

Stade Francais Paris, Newcastle Falcons and the Cardiff Blues are confirmed among the Tier 1 clubs for the Challenge Cup draw which will be conducted on similar lines with four tiers and five pools (see attached).

In Tier 4, Toulouse, Oyonnax and Agen will be drawn into pools which contain one other Top 14 club.

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