Change to Champions Cup qualification criteria
Tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby have confirmed that, as of next season, there will be no qualification play-offs to decide which team takes the final Champions Cup place.
The winner of the 2017-18 European Challenge Cup will automatically qualify for the following season’s Champions Cup, and if that team has already qualified for the Champions Cup through their domestic competition the losing Challenge Cup finalist will take the Champions Cup spot.
The top six teams in the 2017-18 Premiership table will automatically qualify for the following season’s Champions Cup.
The top seven teams in the 2017-18 Pro 12 table will automatically qualify for the following season’s Champions Cup, regardless of which country they are from.
And the top six teams in the French Top 14 at the end of the 2017-18 season will also qualify for the following season’s Champions Cup.
“These changes are designed to strengthen both the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup,” said EPCR Director General, Vincent Gaillard.
“The new qualification format will contribute further to the advances that we have made in attendances, TV audiences and expansion to new territories as we continue to create outstanding rugby experiences for participating clubs, players, sponsors, broadcasters and, importantly, our fans.”
The 2019 European finals will of course be held in Newcastle, with St James’ Park taking centre stage. Details of tickets for those finals will be announced nearer the time.