Euro prepares for Cup draws
NEWS: The Northern Hemisphere is waiting in anticipation for the draws of the Championship Cup and Challenge Cup.
Exeter Chiefs, Scarlets and Clermont Auvergne will be guaranteed top seedings when the pool draw for the Champions Cup takes place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on Thursday June 8.
This key event will get underway with the pool draw for the 2017/18 Challenge Cup at 13.00 (12.00 GMT) and the draw for the Champions Cup pools will follow immediately.
The event comperes in Neuchâtel will be James Gemmell and Raphaël Ibañez, with Austin Healey and Ieuan Evans conducting the draws.
Twenty clubs from the Premiership, the PRO12 and the TOP 14 have qualified on merit for the Champions Cup. The clubs will be divided into four tiers of five and a preliminary draw will be conducted to establish Tier 1 with two of the three second-ranked clubs – Wasps, Munster Rugby and RC Toulon – joining the Premiership winners, Exeter Chiefs, the PRO12 champions, Scarlets, and Clermont who were crowned French champions last night, in the top tier.
Once Tier 1 has been established, the remaining three tiers will fall into place. Tier 2 will include the three third-ranked clubs from the leagues – Saracens, Leinster Rugby and La Rochelle – 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.
Tier 3 will include the two clubs ranked fourth which are not in Tier 2 as well as the three fifth-ranked clubs from each league – Bath Rugby, Montpellier and Ulster Rugby.
Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league – Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors and Castres Olympique – as well as Benetton Rugby and the winner of the Champions Cup play-offs, Northampton Saints.
When the tiers are completed, the main draw for the five pools will be made, and during the draw, some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure that the key principles apply.
In Tier 4, Harlequins and Northampton Saints will be drawn into pools which contain one other Premiership club, and Castres will be drawn into a pool which contains one other TOP 14 club.
Stade Francais Paris, Newcastle Falcons and the Cardiff Blues are confirmed among the Tier 1 clubs for the Challenge Cup draw which will be conducted on similar lines with four tiers and five pools.
In Tier 4, Toulouse, Oyonnax and Agen will be drawn into pools which contain one other TOP 14 club.