Do Not Sell My Personal Information
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Monday Apr 21, 2014

The new European Rugby Champions Cup explained

The new European Rugby Champions Cup explained
14
Comments

The future of European rugby is now clear after months of speculation ended recently with an agreement between the relevant parties, resulting in the new European Rugby Champions Cup. Here is a breakdown of how things will work from next season.

For some time now the English and French clubs had expressed their unhappiness with the format of the Heineken Cup, culminating in talks of them intending to dispand and set up their own tournament in September of last year. 

After months of talks, we’re at the point where everyone is on the same page, and the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup (second tier) were signed on.

The two major players in the TV rights, BT Sport and Sky Sports have agreed to share coverage.

The tournament, run by the newly formed European Professional Club Rugby, will feature 20 teams.

European Rugby Champions Cup qualification:
20 clubs qualifying through the finishing positions in their leagues from the preceding season:

– top 6 from TOP 14
– top 6 from Premiership Rugby
– top 7 from PRO 12, with at least one club from each country participating in the league
– the 20th place will be taken by the winner of a play off (first season different to following)

The format and finer points of the tournament/s are a bit more complicated, but that’s the basic premise and this new video from BT Sport explains things quite clearly. As we get nearer the time, we will go through other facets of it, but for now it looks like it’s a positive step in the right direction.

What do you think of the new qualification setup?

14 Comments

  • 12:17 AM 23/04/2014

    Well 8th place at the moment are Edinburgh, and they are usually very surprisingly competitive in Europe. Beat Toulouse in the Quarter-finals two years ago! Although I will concede that you're right on that. Are the 7th/8th placed teams in the Premiership competitive in Europe? Who knows, they wouldn't have been in Europe before.. Its not a bad solution, its just one that favours England and France. But yeah, I'd rather some form of european competition, even if it isn't perfect!

    Reply
  • mastersa
    9:14 PM 22/04/2014

    I agree, the newer format stunts the growth of the game, and undeniably rightly or wrongly put more money into elite English and French clubs. Most of the comments here already acknowledge some Welsh and Scottish clubs as second tier and it's only a matter of a few short years before we see a European premiership and any outside of that going broke.

    Reply
  • freescotland
    7:31 PM 22/04/2014

    I worry for professional rugby in Scotland, Italy and Wales. In the foreseeable future there should be 3 Irish teams, same as before, but with european income so important to rabo league countries there may not be a professional celtic league for long. Particularly considering the finacial woes of the SRU. Having eight rabo teams would have spiced up the league too because there would be something to fight for at the bottom rather than the current situation with a top/bottom divide in the league which will likely see the same teams qualify each year. As for the BT sport coverage it is pretty patronising because im sure everybody in english rugby is happy not so much elsewhere. With rugby aiming to expand internationally this seems a bit of a backward step that may restrict the ambitions of smaller coutries. The second tier competition has been made a bit of a throw away too without qualification to the main competition. Seeing as some teams dont value the competition as well places could have been offered to winners of semi-pro tournaments such as the british and irish cup.

    Reply
  • 7:01 PM 22/04/2014

    that's a great way of looking at it. I agree that the situation favours Rabo teams less than before, but I'm not sure "shafted" is an apt term. How often does a team finish at 8th place or less in the Rabo while remaining competitive in Europe? I think the Irish big 3 will still be in Europe as they usually don't have much difficulty in finishing in the top 7...nor should they. Let's see how it works out, personally I think that if it's a case of this or no Heineken cup, I'd rather this!

    Reply
  • facepalm
    4:50 PM 22/04/2014

    For Rabo clubs already strapped for cash surely the prospect of more European games can only be good. I remember a few years ago when the recession was at its worst they were considering adding some extra games to the Aviva season purely for this reason.

    Reply
  • fatprop
    3:24 PM 22/04/2014

    I think the winner of the 2nd tier gets into the top tier competition, not this year but from then on. That's what I thought I heard on sky.

    Reply
  • fatprop
    10:10 AM 22/04/2014

    maybe i'm looking at this from a biased English point of view but I don't think it's too bad. For years you have had teams like Connacht and Treviso in the Hcup that just didn't deserve their place. Yes sometimes they would cause an upset, like Connacht v Toulouse, but for every upset there was about 6 blow outs. The comparison showing the leagues to me I feel that there is a hell of a lot more depth in the prem. In the top 4 positions I would say Leinster win- Northampton50/50 Munster-Ulster- Leicester then from that down most of them are prem wins. Under the last system you could finish 12th in your league and still qualify !!! How is that fair to a team like Wasps who finish 7th in their league ? And the comment about the Scottish clubs doing well in the HCup well they can throw everything at the cup because they qualified by right for it the next year, whereas the French and English teams had to compete on both fronts to trying to get in next year.

    Reply
  • reality
    11:20 PM 21/04/2014

    I'd go as far as to say the average in the Premiership is not higher than the Pro 12; it's just more publicised and praised. For people's information this is the current table of both leagues. 1. Saracens - Leinster 2. Northampton - Munster 3. Bath - Ulster 4. Leicester - Glasgow 5. Harlequins - Ospreys 6. Sale - Scarlets 7. Wasps - Cardiff 8. Exeter - Edinburgh 9. Gloucester - Connacht 10. London Irish - Dragons 11. Newcastle - Treviso 12. Worcester - Zebre Outside of the top four they seem like pretty even match-ups. For 5 to 12 I can imagine home wins for all teams, except maybe number 10. Then in the top four I'd say most would agree that it's 3 out of 4 for the Pro 12.

    Reply
  • reality
    11:10 PM 21/04/2014

    The problem is that the Irish didn't really agree to it per se; they were forced to either accept this or not play European Cup rugby after the threat of boycott from the English, French and turncoat Welsh and their refusal to negotiate. The English and French could survive a year without it and do something else but the Irish, Scottish and Italians definitely couldn't. The playoff idea is good but it'd be very difficult to implement because it would mean more matches in an already jam-packed season. It would have to be done after the leagues have finished and adding an extra few weeks to the season could cause problems in terms of logistics and also player welfare.

    Reply
  • 10:58 PM 21/04/2014

    I agree that the irish teams are getting shafted here, but I dont think its as bad as its being made out for Ireland. If you took the draw right now as it stands, you'd have Leinster, Warriors, Ospreys and Treviso as the one-from-each-country and then Munster, Ulster and Scarlets. So you'd have the top three Irish, which is what was before, and since Leinster and Munster are regular top of the table teams, with Ulster up there more often the last couple of years, I don't think it will make that big a difference in Ireland. In Scotland, where we already have money problems, only having one team qualifying (since Edinburgh have been dire, and only seem to be getting worse..) is going to put the SRU in an even worse position than it was before. Same thing in Wales. Its only the Scarlets and Ospreys that will ever really get into this competition. The Dragons and the Blues will become second rate. While I can agree that the top 14 is a better league than the Rabo, I disagree that the Premiership is. The average is higher for sure, but teams like Leinster, Glasgow, most of the whole top half of the Rabo are competitive in Europe and would be competitive in the Premiership. I think the English have complained and moaned their way to getting more teams into this European champions cup of whatever. They're not in it on merit. They really should have many more play-off spots.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    9:54 PM 21/04/2014

    I wouldn't take anything Austin Healy says seriously. This is clearly favourable to English and French teams and I can't believe the Irish actually agreed to this. Personally I think there should be more spots given to playoffs. Make it a true *meritocracy and let the borderline teams battle it out.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    9:36 PM 21/04/2014

    I agree this system is biased toward Eng/Fr competitions. But the current one is completely biaised toward Irish/Welsh teams. Do the latter want a really competitive domestic Pro 12 or not? As for french and english teams currently only a few teams can afford to play with full commitment on both competitions (Toulon, Saracens, Leicester perhaps). I mean even Clermont and Toulouse have to calculate which matches 'they will not play' with the a-squad to keep them rested at crucial times of the year. The rest of the french teams cannot afford to fight for the top spots on both competitions: they have to make a choice and they always prefer the Top14 (Castres, Montpellier, SF, RM). On the contrary Irish/Welsh teams do not have to fight that hard to earn their spot years after years.

    Reply
  • reality
    8:22 PM 21/04/2014

    I like the bit at the beginning where they declare that everyone is happy. Evidently Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian clubs don't count as part of the definition of 'everyone'. They've been completely screwed over and I think it's pretty miserable of these analysts not to recognise that. The whole 'based on merit' thing is ostensibly a half-decent argument but isn't actually the case considering that Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues and Zebre will be excluded whereas English teams like Bath, Sale and Wasps (currently in top 7) will be there. The French clubs will largely merit their places for the simple fact that they've bought in loads of foreigners to play for them. Also, due to the new qualification system teams that win the Challenge Cup won't even qualify, so I think that's a massive backward step for that competition. It's gone from being somewhat important with a decent prize to a nothing competition. A bit of reality from the analysts would be appreciated. Making it out as if the English and French had to give concessions to the Pro 12 in the form of an extra place is just so disingenuous considering that in giving that extra place they also removed three others. As Damien above said, this is probably just going to aggravate Wales, Italy, Scotland and to an extent Ireland's problems at club and international national.

    Reply
  • reality
    8:20 PM 21/04/2014

    I like the bit at the beginning where they declare that everyone is happy. Evidently Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian clubs don't count as part of the definition of 'everyone'. They've been completely screwed over and I think it's pretty miserable of these analysts not to recognise that. The whole 'based on merit' thing is ostensibly a half-decent argument but isn't actually the case considering that Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues and Zebre will be excluded whereas English teams like Bath, Sale and Wasps (currently in top 7) will be there. The French clubs will largely merit their places for the simple fact that they've bought in loads of foreigners to play for them. Also, due to the new qualification system teams that win the Challenge Cup won't even qualify, so I think that's a massive backward step for that competition. It's gone from being somewhat important with a decent prize to a nothing competition. A bit of reality from the analysts would be appreciated. Making it out as if the English and French had to give concessions to the Pro 12 in the form of an extra place is just so disingenuous considering that in giving that extra place they also removed three others. As Damien above said, this is probably just going to aggravate Wales, Italy, Scotland and to an extent Ireland's problems at club and international national.

    Reply


Great Tries

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

View All

See It To Believe It

View All

Funnies

View All

Amateur

View All

Player Features

View All
The new European Rugby Champions Cup explained | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos