The Draw and fixtures for the 2023/24 Champions Cup Rugby has been announced.
The 2023/24 Heineken Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 elite clubs with eight representatives from the United Rugby Championship (URC)
Tier 1 was made up of Stade Rochelais (Heineken Champions Cup winners), Stade Toulousain (TOP 14 winners), Saracens (Premiership winners) and Munster (URC winners). The remaining 20 clubs were either drawn or allocated into the four pools in keeping with the draw’s key principles.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage, as will the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.
The 2023/24 EPCR season preparations took a significant stride forward as the EPCR Pool Draws were successfully conducted at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This state-of-the-art venue hosted the draws, setting the stage for an exciting Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup season that awaits fans worldwide.
The tournament format, featuring multiple pools, guarantees thrilling encounters between some of the most prominent professional clubs in the world. These matchups will undoubtedly captivate audiences when the tournaments kick off in December.
The reigning champions, Stade Rochelais, found themselves in a highly competitive Pool 4, where they will once again lock horns with Leinster Rugby, renewing the intense rivalry that was witnessed in last May’s gripping final. Stade Rochelais, aiming for a third consecutive title, will also face off against the formidable DHL Stormers, Sale Sharks, and Leicester Tigers, with the venue for each match yet to be determined. Pool 4 also welcomed Stade Francais Paris as the second TOP 14 representative.
Pool 1 will witness a clash between Gallagher Premiership victors, Saracens, and strong contenders Vodacom Bulls, Union Bordeaux-Begles, Lyon, and Connacht Rugby. It’s worth noting that Bristol Bears, also drawn into Pool 1, will not face Saracens due to the draw’s principles.
Stade Toulousain, recent winners of the TOP 14, have found themselves in Pool 2, where they will compete against Harlequins, Bath Rugby, Ulster Rugby, and Cardiff Rugby. Notably, Racing 92, also in Pool 2, will not face Stade Toulousain, adding to the anticipation.
Pool 3 features Munster Rugby, triumphant in the United Rugby Championship (URC), pitted against illustrious opponents such as three-time champions RC Toulon, 2020 winners Exeter Chiefs, Northampton Saints, and debutants Aviron Bayonnais. Furthermore, Glasgow Warriors, the second URC representative in Pool 3, will engage in battles against the same formidable opponents as Munster.
The Champions Cup pools consist of two clubs from each of the TOP 14, Gallagher Premiership, and United Rugby Championship (URC) leagues. Notably, Irish and South African teams from the URC were intentionally kept apart during the draw, ensuring diverse matchups.
Tier 1 comprised the previous season’s winners: Stade Rochelais, Stade Toulousain, Saracens, and Munster. The remaining 20 clubs were assigned to the pools, adhering to the key principles of the draw, which set the stage for a season filled with high-quality rugby and fierce competition.