European Champions Cup Pool Draw 2016/17

The 2016/17 European Rugby Champions Cup pool draw takes place in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on Wednesday (29 June) at 13.00 (UK and Irish time).

Both draws will be broadcast on Sky Sports News, beIN Sports and Infosport+ and streamed live on www.epcrugby.com

The event comperes in Neuchâtel will be Alex Payne (Sky Sports) and Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions) with Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports) and Ieuan Evans (Sky Sports) conducting the draws.

Twenty clubs from the Aviva Premiership, the PRO12 and the TOP 14 have qualified on merit for the 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, Leinster Rugby and the TOP 14 losing finalists - joining Saracens, Connacht and the French champions 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 - Wasps, Glasgow Warriors and ASM Clermont Auvergne - 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 - Northampton Saints, Scarlets and Toulouse.

Tier 4 is complete and contains the sixth-ranked clubs from each league - Sale Sharks, Munster Rugby and Castres Olympique - as well as Zebre Rugby and the seventh-ranked club from the TOP 14, Bordeaux-Bègles.

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.

In Tier 4, Sale Sharks will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Premiership club, and Castres Olympique and Bordeaux-Bègles will be drawn into pools which contain one other TOP 14 club. Munster cannot be drawn into a pool which contains another Irish province.

Harlequins, Cardiff Blues and Brive are confirmed among the Tier 1 clubs for the Challenge Cup draw which will be conducted on similar lines with four tiers and five pools.

In Tier 4, Bristol Rugby will be drawn into a pool which contains one other Premiership club, and Lyon and Bayonne will be drawn into pools with one other TOP 14 club.

Pool draws - key principles
• The 20 clubs are divided into four tiers based on their qualification position from their leagues. This will be done where necessary by a draw.
• The 20 clubs will then be divided 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 PRO12 clubs from the same country.
• Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 clubs.

EPCR weekends - 2016/17 season
Round 1: 13/14/15/16 October
Round 2: 20/21/22/23 October
Round 3: 8/9/10/11 December
Round 4: 15/16/17/18 December
Round 5: 12/13/14/15 January 2017
Round 6: 19/20/21/22 January 2017
Quarter-finals: 30/31 March - 1/2 April 2017
Semi-finals: 21/22/23 April 2017

Finals Edinburgh 2017
European Rugby Challenge Cup final: Friday 12 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium
European Rugby Champions Cup final: Saturday 13 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium