Qualification for 2017-18 European Champions Cup Rugby Competition Explained

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Updated: April 24, 2017
connacht v edinburgh

Many Connacht Rugby fans will be looking for an explanation of how their team can qualify for the 2017-18 Champions Cup competition. If we were to guess now Gloucester is the most likely opponents for Connacht.

Nineteen clubs will qualify automatically for the 2017-18 Champions Cup in the following ways:

Aviva Premiership: The six highest-ranked clubs based on their finishing positions.

Guinness PRO12: The seven highest-ranked clubs based on their finishing positions. The seven qualifiers must include at least one club from each of Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

TOP 14: The six highest-ranked clubs based on their finishing positions.

In accordance with the Heads of Agreement drawn up by the nine unions, federations and league bodies, the 20th place in the Champions Cup will be decided by a series of play-off matches.

The play-offs will include the following clubs:

The seventh-ranked club from the Aviva Premiership table, or the winner of the Challenge Cup if from the Premiership and not already qualified for the Champions Cup.

The eighth and ninth-ranked clubs from the PRO12, or the winner of the Challenge Cup if from the PRO12 and not already qualified for the Champions Cup. This club will take the place in the play-offs of the ninth-ranked club.

The seventh-ranked club from the TOP 14, or the winner of the Challenge Cup if from the TOP 14 and not already qualified for the Champions Cup.

19/20/21 May

Play-off 1: Premiership (seventh-ranked club) v PRO12 (ninth-ranked club)

Play-off 2: TOP 14 (seventh-ranked club) v PRO12 (eighth-ranked club)
(The Premiership and TOP 14 clubs will have home advantage)

26/27/28 May

Play-off Final: winner Play-off 1 v winner Play-off 2
(winner of Play-off 1 will have home advantage following a draw)

The winner of the Play-off Final will take the 20th place in the 2017/18 Champions Cup.

The remaining 18 clubs from the Aviva Premiership, the Guinness PRO12 and the TOP 14 which have not qualified for the Champions Cup will play in the 2017-18 Challenge Cup. The 19th and 20th places will go to the two finalists from the Continental Shield.

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