Tournament organisers EPCR have revealed how next week’s pool draws for the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup will operate.
The draws will be staged at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next Tuesday (June 28) and will be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com, starting with the Challenge Cup at noon followed by the Heineken Champions Cup draw at approximately 12.25pm.
The Heineken Champions Cup draw
- 24 qualified clubs separated into four tiers based on their domestic league rankings
- Stormers, Bulls and Sharks from South Africa for the first time
- Teams drawn into two pools of 12
- Clubs from the same league in the same tier will not be drawn into the same pool
- The No1 – including Leicester Tigers as Gallagher Premiership champions – and No 2 clubs from each league will be in Tier 1
- No3 and 4 ranked clubs are in Tier 2, the No5 and 6 ranked clubs in Tier 3, and the No7 and 8 ranked clubs will be Tier 4
The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away over four pool stage rounds, as will the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league
For example, Leicester Tigers in Tier 1 and will be drawn against either ASM Clermont Auvergne or Lyon, and against either Edinburgh Rugby or Ospreys from Tier 4.
The EPCR Challenge Cup pools, which includes the Lions and Cheetahs, will have 20 clubs in three tiers in order to create two pools of 10. Clubs from the same league will not play against one another during the pool stage.
Once the draws have been concluded, EPCR will prepare the fixture schedules for both tournaments with an announcement of exact dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage to follow as soon as practicable.
The 2022/23 season will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December, followed by a knockout stage consisting of a Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, culminating in the Dublin finals at the Aviva Stadium on 19 and 20 May 2023.
2022/23 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP QUALIFIERS
TOP 14: 1 and 2 tbc Castres Olympique/Montpellier Hérault Rugby, 3 Union Bordeaux-Bègles, 4 Stade Toulousain, 5 Stade Rochelais, 6 Racing 92, 7 ASM Clermont Auvergne, 8 Lyon
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Leicester Tigers, 2 Saracens, 3 Harlequins, 4 Northampton Saints, 5 Gloucester Rugby, 6 Sale Sharks, 7 Exeter Chiefs, 8 London Irish
United Rugby Championship: 1 Stormers, 2 Bulls, 3 Leinster Rugby, 4 Ulster Rugby, 5 Sharks, 6 Munster Rugby, 7 Edinburgh Rugby, 8 Ospreys
Heineken Champions Cup pool draw tiers
Tier 1: Castres Olympique, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Stormers, Bulls
Tier 2: Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Stade Toulousain, Harlequins, Northampton Saints, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby
Tier 3: Stade Rochelais, Racing 92, Gloucester Rugby, Sale Sharks, Sharks, Munster Rugby
Tier 4: ASM Clermont Auvergne, Lyon, Exeter Chiefs, London Irish, Edinburgh Rugby, Ospreys
EPCR CHALLENGE CUP QUALIFIERS
United Rugby Championship: 1 Glasgow Warriors, 2 Scarlets, 3 Connacht Rugby, 4 Lions, 5 Benetton Rugby, 6 Cardiff Rugby, 7 Dragons, 8 Zebre Parma
TOP 14: 1 RC Toulon, 2 Section Paloise, 3 Stade Français Paris, 4 CA Brive, 5 USAP 6 Aviron Bayonnais
Gallagher Premiership: 1 Wasps, 2 Bristol Bears, 3 Worcester Warriors, 4 Newcastle Falcons, 5 Bath Rugby
EPCR Challenge Cup pool draw tiers
Tier 1: Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets, RC Toulon, Section Paloise, Wasps, Bristol Bears
Tier 2: Connacht Rugby, Lions, Benetton Rugby, Cardiff Rugby, Stade Francais Paris, CA Brive, Worcester Warriors, Newcastle Falcons
Tier 3: Dragons, Zebre Parma, USAP, Aviron Bayonnais, Bath Rugby, Cheetahs