2017–18 European Rugby Champions Cup

2017–18 European Rugby Champions Cup
Tournament details
Countries  England
 France
 Ireland
 Italy
 Scotland
 Wales
Tournament format(s) Round-robin and knockout
Date 13 October 2017 – 12 May 2018
Tournament statistics
Teams 20
Matches played 66
Attendance 953,255 (14,443 per match)
Highest Attendance 51,700 – Leinster v Saracens
(1 April 2018)
Lowest Attendance 2,600 – Benetton v Scarlets
(16 December 2017)
Tries scored 366 (5.55 per match)
Top point scorer(s) Owen Farrell (Saracens)
(126 points)
Top try scorer(s) Isa Nacewa (Leinster)
(7 tries)
Final
Venue San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao
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The 2017–18 European Rugby Champions Cup is the fourth European Rugby Champions Cup championship, the annual rugby union club competition for teams from the top six nations in European rugby and is the twenty-third season of pan-European professional club rugby competition.

The format of the competition began with a play-off qualification round at the end of the preceding season featuring teams from England, France, Ireland and Wales. The winner joined 19 teams already qualified by way of their domestic league position in the pool stage of the competition - a home and away round-robin for five groups of four teams. Following the pool stage, five pool winners, and three highest ranked runners-up, qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition, as the Cup thereafter reverted to a single elimination knockout format.

The tournament began on 13 October 2017. The final will take place on 12 May 2018 at San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, Spain.[1][2] This will be the first time the final has been held outside one of the Six Nations countries.

Teams[]

Twenty clubs from the three major European domestic and regional leagues will compete in the Champions Cup. Nineteen of these will qualify directly as a result of their league performance.

The distribution of teams is:

The following teams have qualified for the 2017–18 tournament.

Aviva Premiership Top 14 Pro12
England England France France Ireland Ireland Italy Italy Scotland Scotland Wales Wales

20th team play-off[]

The play-off system that had been suspended the season before, due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, returned to decide the final team competing in the Champions Cup.[3][4]

Four clubs competed in a play-off to decide the final team in the Champions Cup.[3]

The play-off comprised 3 matches, contested by one team from the Aviva Premiership, one from the Top 14, and two from the Guinness Pro12.

The two Pro12 teams played either the Premiership or Top 14 side in a single-leg semi-final, held at the home ground of the non-Pro12 side. The winners of these matches then played in a play-off final, and the winner of this match took the 20th place in the Champions Cup. The three losing teams will all compete in the 2017–18 European Rugby Challenge Cup.

The following teams took part:[4]

Aviva Premiership Top 14 Pro12
England England France France Ireland Ireland Wales Wales
Northampton Saints Stade Français Connacht Cardiff Blues

Matches[]

A draw was held on 15 March 2017 to determine the two semi-final matches, and the semi-final winner that would have home advantage in the final.[3]

Semi-finals

19 May 2017
18:00 CEST
Stade Français France 46 – 21 Wales Cardiff Blues
Report
Stade Jean-Bouin
Attendance: 4,767
Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)
20 May 2017
16:00 BST
Northampton Saints England 21 – 15 Ireland Connacht
Report
Franklin's Gardens
Attendance: 9,561
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR)

Play-off final

26 May 2017
19:45 BST
Northampton Saints England 23 – 22 France Stade Français
Report
Franklin's Gardens
Attendance: 10,273
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)

Team details[]

Below is the list of coaches, captain and stadiums with their method of qualification for each team.

Note: Placing shown in brackets, denotes standing at the end of the regular season for their respective leagues, with their end of season positioning shown through CH for Champions, RU for Runner-up, SF for losing Semi-finalist and QF for losing Quarter-finalist.

Team Coach /
Director of Rugby
Captain Stadium Capacity Method of Qualification
England Bath New Zealand Todd Blackadder England Matt Garvey Recreation Ground 14,500 Aviva Premiership top 6 (5th)
Italy Benetton New Zealand Kieran Crowley Italy Dean Budd Stadio Comunale di Monigo 6,700 Pro12 top Italian team (10th)
France Castres France Christophe Urios France Mathieu Babillot Stade Pierre-Fabre[a] 12,500 Top 14 top 6 (5th) (QF)
France Clermont France Franck Azéma France Damien Chouly Stade Marcel-Michelin 19,022 Top 14 top 6 (2nd) (CH)
England Exeter Chiefs England Rob Baxter England Jack Yeandle Sandy Park 12,800 Aviva Premiership top 6 (2nd) (CH)
Scotland Glasgow Warriors New Zealand Dave Rennie Scotland Ryan Wilson Scotstoun Stadium 7,351 Pro12 top Scottish team (6th)
England Harlequins England John Kingston Australia James Horwill Twickenham Stoop 14,800 Aviva Premiership top 6 (6th)
France La Rochelle France Patrice Collazo
France Xavier Garbajosa
New Zealand Jason Eaton Stade Marcel-Deflandre 16,000 Top 14 top 6 (1st) (SF)
England Leicester Tigers Australia Matt O'Connor England Tom Youngs Welford Road 25,800 Aviva Premiership top 6 (4th) (SF)
Ireland Leinster Ireland Leo Cullen Fiji Isa Nacewa RDS Arena
Aviva Stadium
18,500
51,700
Pro12 top 7 (2nd) (SF)
France Montpellier New Zealand Vern Cotter France Louis Picamoles Altrad Stadium 15,697 Top 14 top 6 (3rd) (QF)
Ireland Munster South Africa Johann van Graan
(For South Africa Rassie Erasmus)[b]
Ireland Peter O'Mahony Thomond Park 26,200 Pro12 top Irish team (1st) (RU)
England Northampton Saints England Alan Dickens (For
England Jim Mallinder)
[c]
England Dylan Hartley Franklin's Gardens 15,500 Play-off winner
Wales Ospreys Wales Steve Tandy Wales Alun Wyn Jones Liberty Stadium 20,827 Pro12 top 7 (4th) (SF)
France Racing 92 France Laurent Labit
France Laurent Travers
France Dimitri Szarzewski Stade Yves-du-Manoir
U Arena [d]
14,000
30,681[10]
Top 14 top 6 (6th) (SF)
England Saracens Ireland Mark McCall England Brad Barritt Allianz Park 10,000 Aviva Premiership top 6 (3rd) (SF)
Wales Scarlets New Zealand Wayne Pivac Wales Ken Owens Parc y Scarlets 14,870 Pro12 top Welsh team (3rd) (CH)
France Toulon France Fabien Galthié South Africa Duane Vermeulen Stade Mayol 18,200 Top 14 top 6 (4th) (RU)
Ireland Ulster Australia Les Kiss Ireland Rory Best Kingspan Stadium 18,196 Pro12 top 7 (5th)
England Wasps Wales Dai Young England Joe Launchbury Ricoh Arena 32,609 Aviva Premiership top 6 (1st) (RU)

Seeding[]

The twenty competing teams are seeded and split into four tiers, each containing five teams.

For the purpose of creating the tiers, clubs are ranked based on their domestic league performances and on their qualification for the knockout phases of their championships, so a losing quarter-finalist in the Top 14 would be seeded below a losing semi-finalist, even if they finished above them in the regular season.[11]

Rank Top 14 Premiership Pro12
1 France Clermont England Exeter Chiefs Wales Scarlets
2 France Toulon England Wasps Ireland Munster
3 France La Rochelle England Saracens Ireland Leinster
4 France Racing 92 England Leicester Tigers Wales Ospreys
5 France Montpellier England Bath Ireland Ulster
6 France Castres England Harlequins Scotland Glasgow Warriors
7 England Northampton Saints Italy Benetton

Based on these seedings, teams are placed into one of the four tiers, with the top seed clubs being put in Tier 1. The nature of the tier system means that a draw is needed to allocate two of the three second seed clubs to Tier 1 and to allocate one of the three fourth seed clubs to Tier 2. The tiers are shown below. Brackets show each team's seeding and their league (for example, 1 Top 14 indicates the team was seeded 1st from the Top 14).

Tier 1 England Exeter Chiefs (1 AP) Wales Scarlets (1 Pro12) France Clermont (1 Top 14) England Wasps (2 AP) Ireland Munster (2 Pro12)
Tier 2 France Toulon (2 Top 14) England Saracens (3 AP) Ireland Leinster (3 Pro12) France La Rochelle (3 Top 14) France Racing 92 (4 Top 14)
Tier 3 England Leicester Tigers (4 AP) Wales Ospreys (4 Pro12) England Bath (5 AP) Ireland Ulster (5 Pro12) France Montpellier (5 Top 14)
Tier 4 England Harlequins (6 AP) Scotland Glasgow Warriors (6 Pro12) France Castres (6 Top 14) Italy Benetton (7 Pro12) England Northampton Saints (Play-off)

The following restrictions will apply to the draw:

Pool stage[]

The draw took place on 8 June 2017, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.[4][12]

Teams in the same pool play each other twice, at home and away, in the group stage that begins on the weekend of 13/14/15 October 2017, and continues through to 19/20/21 January 2018. The five pool winners and three best runners-up progress to the quarter finals.

Teams are awarded group points based on match performances. Four points are awarded for a win, two points for a draw, one attacking bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match and one defensive bonus point for losing a match by seven points or fewer.[13]

In the event of a tie between two or more teams, the following tie-breakers will be used, as directed by EPCR:

  1. Where teams have played each other
    1. The club with the greater number of competition points from only matches involving tied teams.
    2. If equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from those matches.
    3. If equal, the club that scored the most tries in those matches.
  2. Where teams remain tied and/or have not played each other in the competition (i.e. are from different pools)
    1. The club with the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage.
    2. If equal, the club that scored the most tries in the pool stage.
    3. If equal, the club with the fewest players suspended in the pool stage.
    4. If equal, the drawing of lots will determine a club's ranking.
Key to colours
     Winner of each pool, advance to quarter-finals.
     Three highest-scoring second-place teams advance to quarter-finals.

Pool 1[]

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
France La Rochelle (5) 6 4 0 2 156 121 +35 18 17 3 1 20
England Wasps 6 3 0 3 154 121 +33 21 15 4 1 17
Ireland Ulster 6 4 0 2 132 118 +14 15 15 1 0 17
England Harlequins 6 1 0 5 106 188 –82 15 22 2 1 7

Pool 2[]

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
France Clermont (2) 6 5 0 1 165 104 +61 16 14 2 0 22
England Saracens (8) 6 3 1 2 205 146 +59 24 13 3 1 18
Wales Ospreys 6 2 1 3 152 148 +4 18 16 3 2 15
England Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 115 239 –124 16 31 2 0 6

Pool 3[]

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
Ireland Leinster (1) 6 6 0 0 176 93 +83 22 12 3 0 27
England Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 138 117 +21 18 14 1 2 15
France Montpellier 6 2 0 4 130 163 –33 18 23 3 2 13
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 128 199 –71 18 27 2 1 7

Pool 4[]

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
Ireland Munster (3) 6 4 1 1 167 87 +80 18 8 2 1 21
France Racing 92 (7) 6 4 0 2 128 105 +23 14 10 1 2 19
France Castres 6 2 1 3 111 161 -50 13 20 2 0 12
England Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 118 171 –53 12 19 1 2 7

Pool 5[]

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
Wales Scarlets (4) 6 4 0 2 162 123 +39 19 12 3 2 21
France Toulon (6) 6 4 0 2 159 125 +34 16 12 1 2 19
England Bath 6 4 0 2 151 121 +30 15 14 1 1 18
Italy Benetton 6 0 0 6 97 200 −103 12 25 2 2 4

Ranking of pool leaders and runners-up[]

Rank Pool Leaders Pts Diff TF
1 Ireland Leinster 27 +83 22
2 France Clermont 22 +61 16
3 Ireland Munster 21 +80 18
4 Wales Scarlets 21 +39 19
5 France La Rochelle 20 +35 18
Rank Pool Runners–up Pts Diff TF
6 France Toulon 19 +34 16
7 France Racing 92 19 +23 14
8 England Saracens 18 +69 24
9 England Wasps 17 +33 21
10 England Exeter Chiefs 15 +21 18

Knock-out stage[]

Format[]

The eight qualifiers are ranked according to their performance in the pool stage and compete in the quarter-finals which will be held on the weekend of 30/31 March, 1 April 2018. The four top teams are at home in the quarter-finals against the four lower teams in a 1v8, 2v7, 3v6 and 4v5 format.

The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of 20/21/22 April 2018. In lieu of the draw that used to determine the semi-final pairing, EPCR announced that a fixed semi-final bracket would be set in advance, and that the home team would be designated based on "performances by clubs during the pool stages as well as the achievement of a winning a quarter-final match away from home". Semi-final matches must be played at a neutral ground in the designated home team's country.

Home country advantage will be awarded as follows:[13]

Bracket[]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
                 
1 Ireland Leinster 30
8 England Saracens 19
1 Ireland Leinster 38
4 Wales Scarlets 16
4 Wales Scarlets 29
5 France La Rochelle 17
1 Ireland Leinster
7 France Racing 92
2 France Clermont 17
7 France Racing 92 28
7 France Racing 92 27
3 Ireland Munster 22
3 Ireland Munster 20
6 France Toulon 19

Quarter-finals[]

30 March 2018
17:30
Scarlets Wales (4) 29–17 (5) France La Rochelle
Try: Patchell 60' c
S. Williams 75' c
Con: Halfpenny (2/2) 62', 76'
Pen: Halfpenny (5/6) 4', 11', 18', 25', 45'
Report Try: Sazy 8' c
Boudehent 80' c
Con: Balès (1/1) 9'
Noble (1/1) 80'
Pen: Balès (1/1) 40'
Parc y Scarlets
Attendance: 15,373[e]
Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU)
31 March 2018
15:15
Munster Ireland (3) 20–19 (6) France Toulon
Try: Murray 27' c
Conway 74' c
Con: Keatley (2/2) 28', 75'
Pen: Keatley (2/2) 31', 55'
Report Try: Ashton 64' c
Con: Trinh-Duc (1/1) 65'
Pen: Belleau (1/1) 9'
Trinh-Duc (2/2) 60', 67'
Drop: Belleau (1/1) 18'
Thomond Park
Attendance: 26,265
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
1 April 2018
14:00
Clermont France (2) 17–28 (7) France Racing 92
Try: Betham 33' m
Pen: Parra (4/4) 5', 9', 17', 44'
Report Try: Nakarawa 24' c
Andreu 63' c
Palu 65' m
Con: Machenaud (2/3) 24', 63'
Pen: Machenaud (3/4) 31', 40', 41'
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin
Attendance: 18,598
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
1 April 2018
15:30
Leinster Ireland (1) 30–19 (8) England Saracens
Try: Ringrose 3' c
Leavy 46' c
Lowe 57' c
Con: Sexton (2/2) 3', 47'
McFadden (1/1) 58'
Pen: Sexton (3/3) 20', 33', 42'
Report Try: Cowan 63' c
Con: Farrell (1/1) 64'
Pen: Farrell (3/3) 11', 15', 26'
Bosch (1/1) 34'
Aviva Stadium
Attendance: 51,700
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (FFR)

Semi-finals[]

21 April 2018
15:30
Leinster Ireland (1) 38–16 (4) Wales Scarlets
Try: J. Ryan 9' c
Healy 26' c
McFadden 39' c
Fardy 49' c
Sexton 59' c
Con: Sexton (5/5) 10', 27', 40', 51', 60'
Pen: Sexton (1/1) 18'
Report Try: Beirne 78' c
Con: Patchell (1/1) 79'
Pen: Halfpenny (3/3) 5', 21', 33'
Aviva Stadium
Attendance: 48,455
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)
22 April 2018
16:15
Racing 92 France (7) 27–22 (3) Ireland Munster
Report
Stade Chaban-Delmas
Attendance: 24,574
Referee: JP Doyle (RFU)

Final[]

Leinster and Racing 92 will contest the final at San Mamés Stadium on 12 May 2018.[1][15]

12 May 2018
17:45
Leinster Ireland (1) v (7) France Racing 92

Attendances[]

Club Home
Games
Total Average Highest Lowest % Capacity
England Bath 3 41,404 13,801 14,422 13,160 95%
Italy Benetton 3 10,900 3,633 5,000 2,600 54%
France Castres 3 26,515 8,838 9,577 8,400 71%
France Clermont 4 73,857 18,464 18,808 18,007 97%
England Exeter Chiefs 3 34,705 11,568 12,606 10,672 90%
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 3 22,053 7,351 7,351 7,351 100%
England Harlequins 3 30,386 10,129 11,705 8,327 68%
France La Rochelle 3 48,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 100%
England Leicester Tigers 3 59,569 19,856 23,100 18,165 77%
Ireland Leinster[16] 5 172,161 34,432 50,266 13,890 90%
France Montpellier 3 28,791 9,597 11,000 8,250 61%
Ireland Munster 4 96,790 24,198 26,265 22,054 92%
England Northampton Saints 3 29,678 9,893 13,320 8,105 64%
Wales Ospreys 3 23,563 7,854 9,158 6,947 38%
France Racing 92[f] 4 59,129 14,782 24,574 9,067 64%
England Saracens 3 21,856 7,285 10,000 2,811 73%
Wales Scarlets 4 48,184 12,046 15,373 6,856 80%
France Toulon 3 40,912 13,637 13,882 13,489 75%
Ireland Ulster 3 45,941 15,314 15,646 15,004 84%
England Wasps 3 38,861 12,954 13,124 12,806 40%

[17]

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. ^ Castres' stadium was known as Stade Pierre-Antoine when the Champions Cup field was set. By the time of the opening round, the venue had been renamed after late club owner Pierre Fabre.[5]
  2. ^ Having announced in June 2017 that Rassie Erasmus will leave Munster in December 2017, Johann van Graan was appointed the new Director of Rugby in September 2017. He started his appointment in November 2017 ahead of Round 9.[6][7]
  3. ^ Jim Mallinder began the tournament as Northampton Saints' head coach, but stood down effective immediately on 12 December 2017. Attack coach Alan Dickens was promoted up to interim head coach.[8]
  4. ^ Racing 92 moved to U Arena on 22 December 2017; the new venue hosted Racing 92's final home pool game.[9]
  5. ^ The Scarlets usual capacity at the Parc y Scarlets is 14,870. The capacity was increased to 15,373 for this game via temporary seating in order to meet minimum standards required for a European knockout game at the quarter-final stage.[14]
  6. ^ Figures include semi-final 'home game' played at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux.

References[]

  1. ^ a b "European club rugby finals to break new ground in 2018 and 2019". epcrugby.com. 
  2. ^ "Edinburgh 2017 finals kick-off times and key 2017/18 dates". epcrugby.com. 
  3. ^ a b c "Champions Cup play-offs". epcrugby.com. 
  4. ^ a b c "Champions Cup qualification 2017/18 and play-offs". epcrugby.com. 
  5. ^ "Castres : ce sera le Stade Pierre-Fabre" [Castres: it will be Stade Pierre-Fabre]. La Dépêche. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "Munster confirm Rassie Erasmus departure to join South Africa". Telegraph. Telegraph. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  7. ^ "Johann van Graan is the new Munster Director of Rugby". Telegraph. Telegraph. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  8. ^ "JIM MALLINDER TO LEAVE NORTHAMPTON SAINTS". Northampton Saints. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017. 
  9. ^ "Le stade Toulousain inaugurera "l'U Arena" contre le Racing après les Rolling Stones". France 3. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Racing Family : U Arena" (in French). Racing 92. Retrieved 5 February 2018. 
  11. ^ http://archive.ercrugby.com/news/28791.php ERCRugby.com. Accessed 8 June 2014
  12. ^ "2017/18 Pool Draws produce top-quality fixtures". epcrugby.com. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  13. ^ a b "Champions Cup Rules". epcrugby.com. 
  14. ^ "Preview: Parc y Scarlets to host biggest game to date as Wayne Pivac's men meet La Rochelle". Inside Wales Sport. 29 March 2018. 
  15. ^ http://m.epcrugby.com/europeanrugbychampionscup/news/37580.php
  16. ^ Figures include semi-final 'home game' played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
  17. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup 17/18 Home attendance". Rugby Statbunker. 1 April 2018.