Saracens, Leinster Rugby and Toulouse will each be guaranteed a top ranking in Tier 1 when the pool draw for the Heineken Champions Cup takes place in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday (19 June).
This key event at the Centre de Congrès Beaulieu will get underway with the draw for next season’s Challenge Cup pools at 1.00pm (UK and Irish time) with the Heineken Champions Cup draw following immediately.
Both draws will be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com and on official tournament Facebook channels, with live broadcasts also on Virgin Media Sport and beIN SPORTS.
The event comperes will be Sarra Elgan (BT Sport) and Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), with Bryan Habana (Channel 4) and Dimitri Yachvili (beIN SPORTS) conducting the draws.
Twenty clubs from Gallagher Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 have qualified on merit for the 2019/20 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, Glasgow Warriors and ASM Clermont Auvergne – joining Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership winners, Saracens, PRO14 winners, Leinster, and TOP 14 winners, Toulouse, 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 – Gloucester Rugby, Munster Rugby and Lyon – 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 – Harlequins, Connacht Rugby and Racing 92.
Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league – Bath Rugby, Benetton Rugby and Montpellier – as well as Sale Sharks and the Ospreys.
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.
Castres Olympique, Wasps and Scarlets 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.
In Tier 4, Agen, Pro D2 winners, Bayonne, and Brive, who were promoted from Pro D2, will be drawn into pools which contain one other TOP 14 club.
Click HERE for a detailed explanation of the Challenge Cup pool draw
Pool draws – key principles
• The 20 clubs are divided into four tiers based on their performances in the knockout phases of their leagues, and/or their qualifying positions from the leagues, or on other official qualification criteria. This will be done where necessary by a draw.
• The Heineken Champions Cup winner goes automatically into Tier 1.
• 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 Tier 4 allocation.
• 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. And for the purposes of this draw, Rugby Calvisano cannot be drawn in to the same pool as Zebre Rugby Club.
EPCR weekends – 2019/20 season
Round 1: 15/16/17 November 2019
Round 2: 22/23/24 November 2019
Round 3: 6/7/8 December 2019
Round 4: 13/14/15 December 2019
Round 5: 10/11/12 January 2020
Round 6: 17/18/19 January 2020
Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2020
Semi-finals: 1/2/3 May 2020
2020 finals – Stade de Marseille
Challenge Cup final – Friday 22 May
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 23 May