Saracens top seeds for Champions Cup draw
Saracens will join Leinster Rugby and Castres Olympique as top seeds when the pool draw for the Heineken Champions Cup takes place in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday.
The event at the Olympic Museum will get underway with the draw for the 2018/19 Challenge Cup pools at 2pm with the draw for the Champions Cup pools following immediately.
Both draws will be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com and on official tournament Facebook channels.
The event comperes will be Sarra Elgan (BT Sport) and Raphaël Ibañez (France Télévisions), with Dimitri Yachvili (beIN SPORTS) and Austin Healey (BT Sport) conducting the draws.
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) June 19, 2018
Twenty clubs from Gallagher Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 have qualified on merit for the 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 Leinster, Saracens, and 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.
👀 Who’s looking forward to the Heineken @ChampionsCup draw this Wednesday?
Here’s a reminder of Round 4 when we beat La Rochelle 21 – 3 at the @RicohArena
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) June 19, 2018
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.
Sale Sharks, Benetton Rugby and La Rochelle 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.
Timisoara Saracens of Romania, who reached the penultimate stage of last season’s Continental Shield, will be included among the 20 competing clubs along with the Shield winners from Bilbao, Russia’s Enisei-STM.
In Tier 4, Stade Francais Paris, Pro D2 winners, Perpignan, and Grenoble will be drawn into pools which contain one other TOP 14 club.
Pool draws – 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 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.
- In the Challenge Cup draw, a club from the Continental Shield cannot be drawn into a pool which contains two TOP 14 clubs or two Premiership 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
2019 Newcastle finals
Challenge Cup final: Friday 10 May, St James’ Park
Champions Cup final: Saturday 11 May, St James’ Park