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EPCR announce new tournament formats for 2023/24 competitions

EPCR have today confirmed new tournament formats for the 2023/24 campaign, with the Champions Cup returning to a multi-pool format.

The 24 sides in the Champions Cup – which includes Northampton Saints following the men in Black, Green and Gold’s fourth-place finish in the Gallagher Premiership – will be split into four pools of six teams.

The Champions Cup will be played over eight weekends, with four pool stage rounds and four knockout stage rounds, culminating in the London 2024 finals which will be staged at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next May.

This new format aims to drive increased sporting jeopardy, as each club will play against four different opponents home or away in the pool stages.

The new competition structures which have been devised in conjunction with the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship.

EPCR Chairman Dominic McKay said: “We are delighted to announce the new formats for the 2023/24 season. We’ve been working hard with our Leagues and key stakeholders to ensure we have the right competition structures – for players and clubs – but also crucially for supporters.

“Our focus has always been to ensure that everyone can easily understand, engage with and follow our tournaments, and also to ensure we have a structure that creates real sporting jeopardy in as many matches as possible.”

Dominic McKay, EPCR Chairman

“We will continue to work with our stakeholders to look at ways in which we can improve both tournaments, an objective which is at the heart of our strategy and commitment to fans, clubs and partners.

“Our competitions truly are the pinnacle of professional club rugby, and we have to ensure that they continue to engage and to enthrall existing and new audiences along the way.”

Champions Cup Format 2023/24

To view a summary of the new EPCR tournament formats, please CLICK HERE.

  • The Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 elite clubs with eight representatives from the Top 14, eight from the Gallagher Premiership and eight from the United Rugby Championship (see below for qualifiers)
  • The clubs will be divided into four pools of six by means of a draw, which will take place on Wednesday 21 June and broadcast live on EPCRugby.TV.
  • The reigning Champions Cup winners (Stade Rochelais), Premiership champions (Saracens), URC champions (Munster Rugby), and Top 14 champions (tbc) will make up Tier 1 of the draw, with the remainder of the draw being ‘open’.
  • There can only be a maximum of two clubs from the same league in each pool.
  • There will be no matches between clubs from the same league – so, during the pool stage, each club will play four matches against four different clubs (who are not from the same league) either home or away.
  • At the conclusion of the pool stage, the four highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the Round of 16. The clubs ranked fifth in each of the pools will qualify for the knockout stage of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

2023/24 Champions Cup Qualifiers

  • TOP 14: Stade Rochelais, Stade Toulousain, Racing 92, Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Lyon, Stade Français Paris, RC Toulon, Aviron Bayonnais
  • GALLAGHER PREMIERSHIP: Saracens, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints, Harlequins, Exeter Chiefs, Bath Rugby, Bristol Bears
  • UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP: Munster Rugby, DHL Stormers, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Vodacom Bulls, Connacht Rugby, Cardiff Rugby

2023/24 EPCR Competition Weekends

Round 1 – 8/9/10 December 2023
Round 2 – 15/16/17 December 2023
Round 3 – 12/13/14 January 2024
Round 4 – 19/20/21 January 2024

Round of 16 – 5/6/7 April 2024
Quarter-finals – 12/13/14 April 2024
Semi-finals – 3/4/5 May 2024
Challenge Cup final – Friday 24 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Champions Cup final – Saturday 25 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

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