The 2014/15 season will herald the inaugural European Rugby Challenge Cup run by the newly-constituted tournament organiser European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

The Pool Draw for the 20 clubs which have qualified on merit for the European Rugby Challenge Cup from the Aviva Premiership, the Greene King IPA Championship, the Top 14, the PRO D2, the Pro12 and from the FIRA-AER play-offs, is a vital component of the preparatory work which is already underway in advance of the new season.

The Pool Draw for the 2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup will take place in Neuchatel, Switzerland on Tuesday, 10th June at 12.00 (UK and Irish time) before the draw for the European Rugby Champions Cup. Both draws will be broadcast live on btsport.com, Sky Sports News, TG4 and Infosport +and streamed live on epcrugby.com

The key principles and key steps integral to the Pool Draw are explained below.

 

Key principles

  • The 20 clubs which have qualified on merit from the Aviva Premiership, the Greene King IPA Championship, the Top 14, the PRO D2, the Pro12 and from the FIRA-AER play-offs will compete in the 2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup in five pools of four.
  • The clubs are divided into four tiers based on the qualification positions from their respective Leagues.
  • Each of the five pools will include one club from each of the four tiers.
  • Each pool will have at least one club from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Pro12.
  • There will be no more than two clubs from the same League in a pool.
  • No pool will contain two Pro12 clubs from the same country.
  • Clubs from the same League will be kept apart until the Tier 4 allocation.
  • A club from the FIRA-AER qualifying tournament cannot be drawn into a pool which contains two French clubs or two English clubs.
  • As one or both of the FIRA-AER qualifiers could be from Italy, the two qualifiers cannot be drawn in the same pool as Zebre during the Tier 4 allocation.

European Rugby Challenge Cup qualification

For the purposes of creating the tiers, the clubs are ranked based on their finishing positions in the Top 14, Aviva Premiership, Pro12 and PRO D2 Leagues, or on their qualification via a play-off.

Rank           Top 14                           Aviva Premiership        Pro12
1                  Stade Francais Paris          Exeter Chiefs                     Cardiff Blues
2                  Bordeaux-Bègles               Gloucester Rugby               Edinburgh Rugby
3                  Brive                                London Irish                      NG Dragons
4                  Bayonne                           Newcastle Falcons              Connacht Rugby
5                  Grenoble                          London Welsh                     Zebre
6                  Oyonnax
7                  Lyon
8                  La Rochelle-ASR

Two additional qualifiers: FIRA-AER 1, FIRA-AER 2


Tier 1

Tier 1 will include the three No 1 ranked clubs from the Top 14, Aviva Premiership and the Pro12. (Stade Francais Paris, Exeter Chiefs and Cardiff Blues)

Tier 1 will also include two of the three second-ranked clubs from the Top 14, Aviva Premiership and the Pro12. The two clubs will be decided by a draw.

Tier 2

Tier 2 will include the three clubs which are ranked third from the Top 14, Aviva Premiership and the Pro12. (Top 14: Brive; Aviva Premiership: London Irish; Pro12: Newport Gwent Dragons)

Tier 2 will also include the second-ranked club which was not drawn into Tier 1, and the club which is ranked fourth from the same League as the club which was not drawn into Tier 1.

Tier 3

Tier 3 will include the two clubs ranked fourth which are not in Tier 2. (If Top 14: Bayonne; if Aviva Premiership: Newcastle Falcons; if Pro12: Connacht Rugby)

Tier 3 will also include the three clubs which are ranked fifth from each League. (Top 14: Grenoble; Aviva Premiership: London Welsh; Pro12: Zebre)

Tier 4

Tier 4 will include the sixth, seventh and eighth-ranked Top 14 clubs (Oyonnax, Lyon and La Rochelle) and the two FIRA-AER qualifiers.

As it is possible that one or both of the FIRA-AER qualifiers could be from Italy, the two qualifiers will be drawn first into pools which do not include Zebre.

Each of the three remaining Top 14 clubs will then be drawn into a pool which already contains another Top 14 club.

 

How the draw works

Upon direction from the MCs, one person will draw the club balls and another person will draw the pool balls.

Step 1

For the purposes of the Pool Draw, only Tier 4 is established at this point.

A draw has to be made to establish the five Tier 1 clubs, and once Tier 1 is confirmed, Tiers 2 and 3 fall into place as per the key principles above.

The draw now takes place to establish which two clubs from the three second-ranked clubs – ie. Bordeaux-Bègles, Gloucester Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby – will join Stade Francais Paris, Exeter Chiefs and Cardiff Blues in Tier 1.

The Bordeaux-Bègles, Gloucester and Edinburgh balls are placed in the bowl, and two clubs are then drawn into Tier 1.

Tier 1 clubs
Stade Francais Paris
Exeter Chiefs
Cardiff Blues
XXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXX

Step 2

Once the Tier 1 clubs are established, the five Tier 2 clubs can be confirmed as follows: the three third-ranked clubs – Brive, London Irish and Newport Gwent Dragons – will be joined by XXXXXX who were not drawn into Tier 1, and by XXXXXXX who are the fourth-ranked club from the XXXXXXXX

Tier 2 clubs
Brive
London Irish
Newport Gwent Dragons
XXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXX

Step 3

Once the Tier 2 clubs are established, the five Tier 3 clubs can be confirmed as follows: the two remaining fourth-ranked clubs, XXXXXXX and XXXXXX, and the three fifth-ranked clubs: Grenoble, London Welsh and Zebre.

Tier 3 clubs
XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX
Grenoble
London Welsh
Zebre

The clubs in Tier 4 are already confirmed as follows:

Tier 4 clubs
Oyonnax
Lyon
La Rochelle-ASR
FIRA-AER qualifier 1
FIRA-AER qualifier 2

Step 4

Each of the five Tier 1 clubs are drawn, followed by a pool number for that club.

Step 5

Draw for the five Tier 2 clubs.

As each club ball is selected, a draw is then made to allocate the club a pool from the available pools based on the key principles above. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles apply.

Step 6

Draw for the five Tier 3 clubs.

Again, as each club ball is selected, a draw will then be made to allocate the club a pool from the available pools based on the key principles above. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles apply.

Step 7

In Tier 4, each of the two FIRA-AER qualifiers will be drawn first into a pool which does not contain Zebre to ensure the key principles apply.

Oyonnax, Lyon and La Rochelle will be then be drawn into pools which contain another Top 14 club.

 

 

 

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