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How the Heineken Champions Cup draw will work

Leicester Tigers will be among the third tier of clubs in the draw for the Heineken Champions Cup next week.

Leinster Rugby, Saracens and Castres Olympique are guaranteed top seeding when the pool draw takes place in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday, June 20 at the Olympic Museum. The draw for the 2018/19 Challenge Cup pools begins is at 2.00pm UK time followed by the draw for the Heineken Champions Cup.

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.

Twenty clubs qualified on merit for the Champions Cup from Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14. They will be divided into four tiers of five for the purposes of the draw.

A preliminary draw will be conducted to establish the full Tier 1 line-up with two of the three second-ranked clubs – Exeter Chiefs, Scarlets and Montpellier – joining defending European and PRO14 champions Leinster, Premiership winners Saracens and TOP 14 winners Castres in the top tier.

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.

Leicester Tigers are among the Tier 3 clubs after finishing in fifth place in the Premiership Rugby table. This tier will also include the two clubs ranked fourth which are not in Tier 2 plus Edinburgh and Toulouse who finished the domestic season as their league’s fifth-ranked club.

Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league, namely Bath, Cardiff Blues and Toulon, plus Ulster and Gloucester.

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