Champions Cup pool draw explained

The Pool Draw for the 2017/18 Champions Cup will take place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland this Thursday (8 June) at 1.20pm approx (UK and Irish time) following the draw for the Challenge Cup.

The key principles and key steps integral to the Pool Draw are explained below.

 

Key principles

  • 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 on 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.

  • Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 clubs.

 

Champions Cup qualification

For the purposes of creating the tiers, the Premiership, Guinness PRO12 and TOP 14 clubs are ranked based on their league performances and on their performances in 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.

 

Premiership Clubs

Exeter Chiefs

Wasps

Saracens

Leicester Tigers

Bath Rugby

Harlequins

Northampton Saints

 

TOP 14 Clubs

ASM Clermont Auvergne

RC Toulon

La Rochelle

Racing 92

Montpellier

Castres Olympique

 

Guinness PRO12 Clubs

Scarlets

Munster Rugby

Leinster Rugby

Ospreys

Ulster Rugby

GLASGOW WARRIORS

Benetton Rugby

 

Tier 1

Tier 1 will include the three champions from the Premiership, the Guinness PRO12 and the TOP 14.

Tier 1 will also include two of the three clubs which are ranked second from the Premiership, the TOP 14 and the Guinness PRO12. The two clubs will be decided by a draw in advance of the draw for the pools.

 

Tier 2

Tier 2 will include the three clubs which are ranked third from the Premiership, the Guinness PRO12 and the TOP 14.

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

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

Tier 4 will include the three clubs which are ranked sixth in the leagues, as well as the Italian qualifier from the Guinness PRO12 Benetton Rugby and Northampton Saints who qualified as winners of the Champions Cup play-offs.

 

How the draw works

Upon direction from the event MCs, James Gemmell (Sky Sports) and Raphael Ibanez (France Télévisions), Ieuan Evans (Sky Sports) will draw the club balls and Austin Healey (BT Sport) will draw the pool balls.

 

Step 1

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 takes place to determine which two clubs from the three clubs ranked number two in the leagues will join the three championship winners in Tier 1.

The three championship runners-up balls – Wasps, Munster and Toulon - are placed in the drum, and two clubs are then drawn into Tier 1. 

 

Tier 1 clubs

Exeter Chiefs (Premiership champions)

Scarlets (Guinness PRO12 champions)

ASM Clermont Auvergne (TOP 14 champions)

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Step 2

Once the Tier 1 clubs are established, the five Tier 2 clubs can be confirmed as follows: the three third-ranked clubs in the leagues – Saracens, Leinster Rugby and La Rochelle – will be joined by XXXXXXX who were not drawn into Tier 1, and by the fourth-ranked club from the same league as the club which was not drawn into Tier 1.

 

Tier 2 clubs

Saracens

Leinster Rugby

La Rochelle

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Step 3

Once the Tier 2 clubs are established, the five Tier 3 clubs can be confirmed as follows: the two remaining fourth-ranked clubs, XXXXXXX and XXXXXXXX, and the three fifth-ranked clubs, Bath Rugby, Montpellier and Ulster Rugby.

 

Tier 3 clubs

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Bath Rugby

Montpellier

Ulster Rugby

 

The clubs in Tier 4 are already confirmed as follows:

 

Tier 4 clubs

Harlequins

Northampton Saints

Castres Olympique

GLASGOW WARRIORS

Benetton Rugby

 

Step 4

Each of the five Tier 1 clubs are drawn, followed by a pool number for that club.

 

Step 5

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.

 

Step 6

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.

 

Step 7

Draw for the five Tier 4 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. 

The European Champions Cup draw takes place in Neuchatel on Thursday at around 1.20pm and there will be news of the draw plus reaction on the club's official channels on Thursday afternoon.

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