Tougher draw for Munster in Heineken Champions Cup

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Email:

ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Tougher draw for Munster in Heineken Champions Cup

Munster will learn their pool opponents for next season's Heineken Champions Cup this Wednesday

MUNSTER  have been placed in Tier 2 for the 2019/20 Champions Cup draw with the pools to be drawn in Switzerland this Wednesday.

This key event in Lausanne will begin with the draw for next season’s Challenge Cup pools at 1pm Irish time with the Champions Cup draw following immediately. Both draws will be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com

Munster will be drawn in a pool with one team from Saracens, Toulouse and two from Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors or Clermont Auvergne.

Twenty clubs from Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 have qualified on merit for the 2019/20 Heineken 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 – Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors and ASM Clermont Auvergne – joining Champions Cup and Premiership winners Saracens, PRO14 winners Leinster, and TOP 14 winners Toulouse 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 – Gloucester Rugby, Munster Rugby and Lyon – 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 – Harlequins, Connacht Rugby and Racing 92.

Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league – Bath Rugby, Benetton Rugby and Montpellier – as well as Sale Sharks and the Ospreys.

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.

Pool draws – key principles

THE 20 clubs are divided into four tiers based on their performances in the knockout phases of their leagues, and/or their qualifying positions from the leagues, or on other official qualification criteria. This will be done where necessary by a draw.

The Heineken Champions Cup winner goes automatically into Tier 1.

The 20 clubs will then be drawn into five pools of four clubs each.

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 PRO14 clubs from the same country.

Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the Tier 4 allocation.

EPCR weekends – 2019/20 season

Round 1: 15/16/17 November 2019

Round 2: 22/23/24 November 2019

Round 3: 6/7/8 December 2019

Round 4: 13/14/15 December 2019

Round 5: 10/11/12 January 2020

Round 6: 17/18/19 January 2020

Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2020

Semi-finals: 1/2/3 May 2020

Champions Cup final (Stade de Marseille) Saturday, 23 May, 2020