Heineken Champions Cup draw explained

The Heineken Champions Cup draw will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland next Wednesday (20 June).

Glasgow Warriors will be among the clubs in Tier 2, along with Wasps, Racing 92 and two other clubs which will be decided on the day.

Leinster, Saracens and Castres will be guaranteed top seedings at the event which will be held in the Olympic Museum at around 2.20pm.

The draw will be streamed live on epcrugby.com and on official tournament Facebook channels.

Twenty clubs from Gallagher Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 have qualified on merit for the Heineken Champions Cup. The clubs will be divided into four tiers of five and a preliminary draw will be conducted to establish Tier 1 with two of the three second-ranked clubs – Exeter Chiefs, Scarlets and Montpellier – joining Heineken Champions Cup and PRO14 winners, Leinster, Premiership winners, Saracens, and TOP 14 winners, Castres, in the top tier. 

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 – Wasps, Glasgow Warriors and Racing 92 – as well as the second-ranked club which was not drawn into Tier 1 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 – Leicester Tigers, Edinburgh Rugby and Toulouse.

Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league – Bath Rugby, Challenge Cup winners, Cardiff Blues, and RC Toulon – as well as Ulster Rugby and Gloucester Rugby.

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

Click HERE for a detailed explanation of the Heineken Champions Cup pool draw

Pool draw – key principles

  • The 20 clubs are divided into four tiers based on their qualifying positions from the leagues, or on other official qualification criteria. This will be done where necessary by a preliminary draw.
  • The 20 clubs will then be drawn into five pools of four clubs each.
  • 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 PRO14 clubs from the same country.
  • Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 clubs.

EPCR key dates – 2018/19 season

Round 1: 12/13/14 October
Round 2: 19/20/21 October
Round 3: 7/8/9 December
Round 4: 14/15/16 December
Round 5: 11/12/13 January 2019
Round 6: 18/19/20 January 2019
Quarter-finals: 29/30/31 March 2019
Semi-finals: 19/20/21 April 2019
Heineken Champions Cup final: Saturday 11 May, St James’ Park, Newcastle

Season Ticket Members can renew their memberships for the 2018/19 season HERE until Friday 13 July.