How the revised formats for the Champions and Challenge Cup will work

How the revised formats for the Champions and Challenge Cup will work

The EPCR has confirmed the revised tournament formats for the 2020/21 season. 

In a statement confirming the news, the organising body of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup said that the decision was made following 'in-depth discussion with is shareholder leagues and unions'


Both tournaments will resume with Rounds of 16 matches on the weekend of 2/3/4 April and the knockout stages will continue with quarter-finals, semi-finals and the scheduled Marseille finals on EPCR’s allocated weekends in April and May.



As approved by the EPCR Board, the Rounds of 16 and quarter-final matches in both tournaments will now be decided by draws which will take place on Tuesday, 9 March.


Regarding the Heineken Champions Cup, the eight highest-ranked clubs in Pool A and the eight highest-ranked clubs in Pool B at the time of the suspension of the tournament have qualified for the Round of 16.


For the purposes of the draw, clubs from the same league cannot be drawn against one another, however, clubs from either pool can be drawn against one another.



A further agreed key principle of the Heineken Champions Cup draw will ensure that clubs which have won both pool stage matches on the pitch – ie. where results were not impacted by COVID-19 – will play at home in the Round of 16. Therefore, Racing 92, Leinster Rugby, Wasps, Bordeaux-Bègles and Munster Rugby will each be guaranteed a home fixture.



The clubs which are not drawn against either Racing 92, Leinster, Wasps, Bordeaux-Bègles or Munster will have their opponents, and whether they will be playing at home or away, determined as part of the draw.

Regarding the Challenge Cup, the eight highest-ranked clubs from the preliminary stage at the time of the suspension of the tournament and the eight clubs which have not qualified for the knockout stage of Heineken Champions Cup will compete in the Round of 16.


For the purposes of the draw, clubs from the same league cannot be drawn against one another, however, Challenge Cup clubs and Heineken Champions Cup clubs can be drawn against one another.


Clubs which have won both Challenge Cup preliminary stage matches on the pitch - ie. where results were not impacted by COVID-19 – will play at home in the Round of 16. Therefore, London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers will each be guaranteed a home fixture.



The clubs which are not drawn against either London Irish, Ospreys or Leicester Tigers will have their opponents, and whether they will be playing at home or away, determined as part of the draw.


It has also been agreed that open draws will take place to determine the quarter-finals in both the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, allowing for the possibility of matches between clubs from the same league.


The draws for the quarter-finals will take place immediately after the Rounds of 16 draws on Tuesday, 9 March. Further details regarding the event which will be streamed live on epcrugby.com will be communicated early next month.

2020/21 KNOCKOUT STAGE QUALIFIERS


Heineken Champions Cup – Racing 92, Leinster Rugby, Wasps, Bordeaux-Bègles, Munster Rugby, Lyon, Toulouse, La Rochelle, Scarlets, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, Edinburgh Rugby, Gloucester Rugby, RC Toulon, Sale Sharks
NB Racing 92, Leinster, Wasps, Bordeaux-Bègles and Munster are guaranteed home matches in the Round of 16

Challenge Cup – London Irish, Ospreys, Leicester Tigers, Cardiff Blues, Zebre Rugby Club, Agen, Benetton Rugby, Newcastle Falcons, Ulster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Northampton Saints, Bath Rugby, Montpellier, Dragons, Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors
NB London Irish, Ospreys and Leicester Tigers are guaranteed home matches in the Round of 16

EPCR KEY DATES

Knockout Stage Draws: Tuesday, 9 March
Rounds of 16: 2/3/4 April
Quarter-finals: 9/10/11 April
Semi-finals: 30 April – 1/2 May
Challenge Cup final: Marseille - Friday, 21 May
Heineken Champions Cup final: Marseille - Saturday, 22 May

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