The EPCR have confirmed the date for the draw for the new-look pool stage of the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup. The draw will be staged in Lausanne for the third successive year, taking place on Wednesday October 28. As previously announced, the new tournament format will see 24 clubs made up of eight representatives from each of the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness Pro14 and the Top 14 drawn into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B.
The clubs ranked numbers 1 and 2 in their leagues will be in Tier 1 for the purposes of the draw, the clubs ranked numbers 3 and 4 will be in Tier 2, the clubs ranked 5 and 6 will be in Tier 3, and the clubs ranked 7 and 8 will be in Tier 4.
Clubs from the same league who are in the same tier will not be drawn into the same pool.
Once the two pools are constituted, the new format demands that clubs will only play against opposition which has been drawn into the same pool, and in addition, clubs from the same league will not play against one another.
In order to create the fixtures, clubs in Tier 1 will play against clubs in Tier 4 and clubs in Tier 2 will play clubs in Tier 3. Each club will have four pool stage matches – two home and two away – and the new format will include an expanded knockout stage with quarter-finals played over two legs on consecutive weekends.
The top four clubs from each pool will secure their places in the quarter-finals with the clubs ranked fifth to eighth qualifying for the Round of 16 of the Challenge Cup.
The new Challenge Cup format does not necessitate a draw and the fixtures for the preliminary stage of the 2020/21 tournament will be announced in due course.
The 2020/21 Champions Cup season is due to kick-off on the weekend of December 11/12/13.
TIER 1: Leinster, Ulster, Exeter*, Wasps*, Bordeaux-Begles, Lyon/Racing 92**
*The Premiership finalists, Exeter Chiefs and Wasps, will be in Tier 1 for the purposes of the pool draw.
**If Racing 92 win this season’s Heineken Champions Cup they will become the No 1-ranked club from their league.
TIER 2: Edinburgh, Munster, Bristol, Bath, Racing 92/Lyon, Toulon
TIER 3: Scarlets, Connacht, Harlequins, Sale Sharks, La Rochelle, Clermont Auvergne
TIER 4: Glasgow Warriors, Dragons, Toulouse, Montpellier, Gloucester, Northampton Saints
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