At 1pm tomorrow the draw for the 2017/8 Champions Cup will take place at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Neuchatel, Switzerland. I know what you’re thinking – why Switzerland? Well that’s where the governing body EPCR are based – again I don’t know why – tax reasons maybe? Certainly not because the Swiss are a major power in European, or even Scandinavian rugby come to that.
Apparently it was so as not to be in any of the countries that compete in the tournament. I would have made them set up in Lagos, Nigeria myself – that would keep them focussed on the main rugby issues – I know I’ve been to Lagos!
Would have stopped them stuffing themselves with Toblerone and pretending to be neutral too.
This is how the draw will work –
CHAMPIONS CUP RANKINGS
For the purposes of creating the Tiers, the Premiership, Pro12 and Top 14 clubs are ranked based on their league performances and on their performances in the knockout phases. For clubs which did not qualify for the knockout phases of their leagues, or which were eliminated at the same stage of the knockout phase, rankings are decided by league table finishing positions.
|1||Exeter Chiefs||ASM Clermont Auvergne||Scarlets|
|2||Wasps||RC Toulon||Munster Rugby|
|3||Saracens||La Rochelle||Leinster Rugby|
|4||Leicester Tigers||Racing 92||Ospreys|
|5||Bath Rugby||Montpellier||Ulster Rugby|
|6||Harlequins||Castres Olympique||Glasgow Warriors|
|7||Northampton Saints||Benetton Treviso|
- The 20 clubs will compete in five pools of four
- The clubs are divided into four tiers based on their status as championship winners and/or on qualification positions in their league. This will be done by a draw in advance of the main Pool draw
- 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 Pro12 clubs from the same country
- Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 clubs
HOW THE TIERS ARE FILLED
Tier 1 will include the Premiership, Pro12 and Top 14 champions.
Tier 1 will also include two of the three clubs ranked second from the three leagues. These two clubs will be decided by a draw
Tier 2 will include three clubs which are ranked third from the three leagues.
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 will include the two clubs ranked fourth which are not in Tier 2.
Tier 3 will also include the three clubs which are ranked fifth from each league.
Tier 4 will include the three clubs which are ranked sixth in the leagues, as well as the Italian qualifier from the Pro12 – Benetton Rugby – and Northampton Saints who qualified as winners of the Champions Cup play-offs.
– Step 1
Only Tier 4 clubs are confirmed. A draw is made to establish the five Tier 1 clubs. Once Tier 1 is confirmed, Tiers 2 and 3 fall into place as per key principles.
The draw will determine which two clubs from the three clubs ranked number two in the leagues will join the three championship winners in Tier 1.
The three championship runners-up balls – Wasps, Munster and Toulon – are placed in the drum, and two clubs are then drawn into Tier 1.
Tier 1 clubs
Exeter Chiefs (Premiership champions)
Scarlets (PRO12 champions)
ASM Clermont Auvergne (TOP 14 champions)
Drawn Team 1 (Wasps / Munster / Toulon)
Drawn Team 2 (Wasps / Munster / Toulon)
– Step 2
Once Tier 1 clubs are established, the five Tier 2 clubs can be confirmed:
– Three clubs ranked third in the leagues – Saracens, Leinster Rugby and La Rochelle
– PLUS the team not drawn into Tier 1
– PLUS fourth-ranked club from same league as club not drawn into Tier 1
Tier 2 clubs
Undrawn Team (Wasps / Munster / Toulon)
Plus (One of Leicester Tigers / Racing 92 / Ospreys)
– Step 3
Once Tier 2 clubs are established five Tier 3 clubs can be confirmed as follows:
– Two remaining fourth-ranked clubs (Leicester Tigers / Racing 92 / Ospreys)
– Three fifth-ranked clubs – Bath Rugby, Montpellier and Ulster Rugby
Tier 3 clubs
2 of (Leicester Tigers / Racing 92 / Ospreys)
– 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 made to allocate the club a pool from available pools based on the key principles. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles.
– Step 6
Draw for the five Tier 3 clubs
As each club ball is selected, a draw is made to allocate the club a pool from available pools based on the key principles. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles apply.
– Step 7
Draw for the five Tier 4 clubs
Tier 4 clubs
As each club ball is selected, a draw is made to allocate the club a pool from the available pools based on the key principles. Some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure the key principles apply.
Got that? Me either.
What I do know though is that at last meritocracy will be how teams from Pro12 qualify – and about time too!
And the final is in – yeah you guessed it – Helmand Province – only kidding, it’s in Bilbao (obviously!)