Pro14 brings new Euro Champs process

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:30
Large european champions cup trophy and logo 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: PRO14 Rugby will introduce an exciting change to its Champions Cup qualification process that will see the seventh-ranked team decided by a Play-Off match that will form part of the PRO14 Final Series.

This fresh addition to the Championship has been warmly welcomed by the PRO14 clubs and will see the two fourth-placed teams from each Conference face off in a winner-takes-all clash to qualify for the Champions Cup.

The fixture will take place on the first weekend of May and home advantage will be awarded to the team who has finished the regular season with the highest match-points total. This move is designed to ensure competitive balance between both Conferences in order to award the final Champions Cup qualification place.

The first six places from the PRO14 will automatically be claimed by the teams who finish in the top three of each Conference.

The South African teams remain ineligible to qualify for EPCR tournaments, so should a South African team finish in either the top three or in fourth place they will be replaced by the team that finished below them in that Conference.

"By the time May rolls around our fans are going to be the big winners thanks to the enlarged PRO14 Final Series which will see six teams battle for the Championship title and another two going at it to qualify for the Champions Cup,"  Martin Anayi, CEO of the PRO14 Rugby, said, adding: "That's double the number of teams who now have something to play for after the regular season ends which is a great result for the clubs, their fans and the tournament.

"We are committed to raising the standards of our Championship and the introduction of the Champions Cup Play-Off brings a dynamic element to European qualification. After careful consultation with our clubs, we strongly believe that this is the best solution for the PRO14.

"The new Championship format is off to a fantastic start and it's so important to us that no matter which Conference a club is in, eligible teams have an equal opportunity to qualify for the Champions Cup.

"By pitting the two fourth-placed teams against each other we're creating a fair fight and giving fans a Cup final style occasion that they can relish,"

Dragons Head Coach, Bernard Jackman, said: "Having a Play-Off game for the final Champions Cup spot is a really exciting new element for the Guinness PRO14. There will be teams battling to reach the top three or finish in a Play-Off place and that means that the competition will go right down to the wire for everyone.

"Every team has to finish as strongly as possible and if we can improve as the season progresses we would hope to be there or thereabouts to take advantage of the opportunity. The Play-Off fixture itself will be a massive occasion for players to test themselves in a Cup final atmosphere, it will get supporters pumped up and it's a fantastic stage for a team to prove that they deserve to be playing in the Champions Cup."

Benetton Rugby Head Coach, Kieran Crowley, said: "This addition to the PRO14 brings an objective to those teams that are in that position and some real meaning to a 'Play-Off' game with a fantastic reward to compete for. If we find ourselves in that position we will certainly be very excited about it and be determined to achieve a positive result and qualify for the Champions Cup on merit."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
PRO14
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 10 10 0 0 48
Munster 10 7 0 3 36
Cheetahs 10 6 0 4 29
Cardiff Blues 10 4 0 6 19
Connacht 10 3 0 7 18
Zebre 10 3 0 7 16
Ospreys 10 2 0 8 11
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 10 8 0 2 40
Leinster 10 8 0 2 37
Ulster 10 7 1 2 35
Edinburgh 10 6 0 4 28
Treviso 10 3 0 7 15
Dragons 10 2 1 7 13
Kings 10 0 0 10 4