Connacht among top seeds for European draw

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 Jun 2016



Guinness PRO12 champions Connacht will be among the top seeds for the pool draw of the European Champions Cup when it takes place on Wednesday.

The Challenge Cup draw will take place first, starting at 1pm in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, with the Champions Cup draw following about 20 minutes later.

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

The 2016/17 European Champions Cup and the European Challenge Cup will both feature 20 teams which will be split in five pools each with four teams.

Each pool in both competitions will have at least one club from the Guinness PRO12, Aviva Premiership and the TOP14 and be made up of one club from each of the four tiers – effectively seedings based on their league position last year.

There will be no more than two clubs from the same league in a pool and no group will contain two Guinness PRO12 clubs from the same country.

A preliminary draw ahead of the main event will determine the final tiers for the European Champions Cup with two of Exeter Chiefs, RC Toulon and last year’s losing finalists Leinster Rugby joining reigning Champions Cup winners Saracens, Racing 92 and Connacht in the top tier.

Tier two will include the 2014/15 Guinness PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors, this year’s runners-up Leinster, if they’re not in tier one, and possibly Ulster.

Scarlets will be in tier three while Munster Rugby, who cannot be drawn in the same pool as Leinster, Connacht or Ulster, and Zebre Rugby are in tier four.

In the Challenge Cup, Cardiff Blues will be among the top seeds in tier one with Ospreys potentially joining them.

The first round of European fixtures will take place on the weekend of October 13/14/15/16 followed by round two a week later.

Both the Challenge Cup and the Champions Cup will be played at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Friday 12 May and Saturday 13 May respectively. 

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