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Staying in touch with Rugby Champions Cup draw

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Rugby News Staying in touch with Rugby Champions Cup draw

Tomorrow (Tuesday) sees European rugby enter a new era with the pool draw of the first Rugby Champions Cup.

This key EPCR event will get underway with the pool draw for the 2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup at 12.00pm (UK and Irish time) which will be followed immediately by the draw for the European Rugby Champions Cup pools.

Both draws will be broadcast live by btsport.com/europeanrugby, Sky Sports News, TG4 and Infosport + and will also be streamed live on www.epcrugby.com

Craig Doyle of BT Sport and Raphael Ibanez will be joint comperes in Neuchatel with former London Wasps and RC Toulon star, Simon Shaw, and Sky Sports' Welsh legend, Scott Quinnell, on hand to conduct the draws.

Twenty clubs from the Aviva Premiership, the Top 14 and the Pro12 have booked their places in the 2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup, and for the first time, the clubs have qualified on merit.

For the purposes of the pool draw, the Aviva Premiership clubs are ranked according to their finishing positions in the League table, so Saracens are top seeds with Northampton Saints ranked number two.

The Top 14 and Pro12 clubs are ranked based on their League performances and on their qualification for the knockout phases of their championships. So reigning European and Top 14 champions, RC Toulon, and Pro12 champions, Leinster Rugby, are also confirmed among the top seeds.

The 20 clubs will be divided into four tiers of five based on their qualification positions from the Leagues. A draw will be conducted in advance to establish Tier 1 with two of the three second-ranked clubs - Northampton Saints, Castres Olympique and Glasgow Warriors - joining Saracens, Toulon and Leinster in the top tier.

Once Tier 1 has been established, the remaining three tiers will fall into place. The draw for the five pools will then be made based on the tiers, and during the draw, some clubs may have to be placed directly into a pool in order to ensure that certain key principles apply, namely that there will be no more than two clubs from each league in the same pool, and that each pool cannot contain more than one Pro 12 club from each country.

In Tier 4, Sale Sharks and London Wasps will be drawn into pools which contain one other Aviva Premiership club, and Toulouse will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Top 14 club.

Stade Francais Paris, Exeter Chiefs and Cardiff Blues are confirmed among the top seeds for the 2014/15 European Rugby Challenge Cup which will be conducted on similar lines with four tiers and five pools.

In Tier 4, Oyonnax, Lyon and La Rochelle will be drawn into pools which contain one other Top 14 club.

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