Clan Forum

Search Our Site

Topic-icon European Rugby 2023-24

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69422

Just saw this from last Friday's Telegraph.

It is understood that the new format will include 24 teams competing in four pools of six, and with the opening two rounds taking place in December. Each pool will comprise two clubs from each of the three competing leagues – the Premiership, United Rugby Championship and Top 14, drawn on a ranking basis. Clubs from the same league in each pool will not play against each other, resulting in four pool matches

Based on that it would seem to suggest that it won't be home and away, we would play two English and two French sides, one of each at home, but I could be reading that wrong, or they could have picked it up wrong.
Though it does suggest that we won't necessarily be playing all our games against finalists, with more of an even distribution of teams instead.


www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2023/05/...-format-next-season/

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
1 year 1 month ago #69423

pinky wrote: Just saw this from last Friday's Telegraph.

It is understood that the new format will include 24 teams competing in four pools of six, and with the opening two rounds taking place in December. Each pool will comprise two clubs from each of the three competing leagues – the Premiership, United Rugby Championship and Top 14, drawn on a ranking basis. Clubs from the same league in each pool will not play against each other, resulting in four pool matches

Based on that it would seem to suggest that it won't be home and away, we would play two English and two French sides, one of each at home, but I could be reading that wrong, or they could have picked it up wrong.
Though it does suggest that we won't necessarily be playing all our games against finalists, with more of an even distribution of teams instead.


www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2023/05/...-format-next-season/


Best guestimate I saw from another forum was for example:

Connacht URC Pot 4 in with URC Pot 1 side, Pot 1 & 4 sides from T14 & Premiership. Connacht play Pot 1 sides from Prem and T14 home and away. No two sides in the pool of 6 actually play the same teams etc.

Last edit: 1 year 1 month ago by neill_m.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69424

... but isn't that effectively the exact same format as this season? Except that the pool is split in half. In the above case you would be guaranteed that two Pot 4 sides would make the playoffs (quite likely without winning any games).
I saw some references to an article in the (London) Times that said home and away was gone but didn't read the full thing.
Though in both cases these articles were written in advance of an alleged meeting over the weekend, so something entirely different could have been decided there!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
1 year 1 month ago #69425

pinky wrote: ... but isn't that effectively the exact same format as this season? Except that the pool is split in half. In the above case you would be guaranteed that two Pot 4 sides would make the playoffs (quite likely without winning any games).
I saw some references to an article in the (London) Times that said home and away was gone but didn't read the full thing.
Though in both cases these articles were written in advance of an alleged meeting over the weekend, so something entirely different could have been decided there!


Stole the below example from the Munster forum, if it is home/away v home and away, then potentially the lower Tier side only has 1 home game.

Let's take a hypothetical pool of:
Toulouse (Tier 1)
Saracens (Tier 1)
Munster (Tier 1)
Bayonne (Tier 4)
Bath (Tier 4)
Connacht (Tier 4)

Munster would play:
One of Toulouse/Saracens home, the other one away
Bayonne home
Bath home

Connacht would play:
Toulouse away
Saracens away
One of Bayonne/Bath home, the other one away

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69426

I was assuming the format change would be aimed at making it less batS#!+ as opposed to more ...
But this is EPCR so who knows.
I do have to admire the optimism of a Munster fan who feels entitled to play 3 of his 4 games at home :-)
I would assume that whatever the details of the format each team would play one higher ranked and one lower ranked team from each of the other leagues.
And the one thing that you can say for certain is that everyone will play the same number of home games in the pool stage, I don't think even EPCR will go that far off the reservation.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69427

Simon Massie-Taylor on GBR podcast confirmed the new format as above - four pools of six, where you play four of the five other teams - with final details to be worked out over the next week or so. Nothing really new there as PRL were presumably the source for the original stories, but it does mean that it wasn't shot down at the weekend, and the fact that he is saying it in interviews and not giving the usual <<nothing is agreed until everything is agreed>> suggests it's probably a runner.

So I'm going to go ahead and pick our pool:
Munster
Connacht
La Rochelle
Bayonne
Leicester
Harlequins

We beat Quins at home and Bayonne away and then beat Stade Francais away in the last 16 or something along those lines.

Last edit: 1 year 1 month ago by pinky.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
1 year 1 month ago #69428

Interesting so playing the 4 English/French sides potentially suggests being a high seed will have little advantage if the likes of Munster have to play La Rochelle say / Saracens either home or away in the pool as Pot 4 sides.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69429

Yes, I think that is the case. If it works the way I guess it will then the two teams from a given league in each pool will be from the opposite seeding, e.g. Connacht as 7th seed would be with Munster or Stormers and Ulster as 4th would be with Glasgow/Bulls. That would guarantee balance to the pools. So as you say a higher seeding doesn't give you easier games. So in that way it would be one of the fairer systems we've had.
There will be some anomalies e.g. one of Munster/Stormers would be in the same pool as Cardiff meaning all their Anglo-French rivals will have a theoretically handy enough game against the Welsh side while the URC team have a tougher fixture list, but that is a flaw of the qualification and seeding system as opposed to the format. It would be arguably worse under the other systems where some lucky teams get Cardiff twice.
(Of course Cardiff may have a great season and I for one fully expect them to beat Saracens and not pin this post to the wall when we meet them in the Quarter Final)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69438

I wonder does the radio silence from EPCR perhaps indicate that the new format indicated by PRL might not be a done deal? Barely even a leak or any random speculation for three weeks.
It was this day last year that they confirmed the format for this season so maybe we'll get it soon ...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
1 year 1 month ago #69440

The Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 elite clubs with eight representatives from the TOP 14, eight from the Gallagher Premiership and eight from the BKT United Rugby Championship (URC). (See qualifiers below)

The clubs will be divided into four pools of six by means of a draw with Champions Cup winners, Stade Rochelais, League winners, Saracens and Munster Rugby, as well as the winners of Saturday’s TOP 14 final between Stade Rochelais and Stade Toulousain, making up Tier 1 with each club drawn into a separate pool at the outset.

If Stade Rochelais happen to win the TOP 14 title, then the Champions Cup final runners-up, Leinster Rugby, will be included in Tier 1.

The remaining 20 clubs make up Tier 2 and will be either drawn or allocated into the four pools by means of an ‘open’ draw with the following in-built key principles:

There can only be a maximum of two clubs from the same league in each pool.

Clubs from the same URC Shield cannot be in the same pool. Therefore, the Irish qualifiers – Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby and Connacht Rugby – will each be in a different pool, and similarly, the DHL Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls from South Africa will be kept apart during the draw.

There will be no matches between clubs from the same league, so for the purposes of creating the fixtures, each club will play four matches against four different clubs who are not from the same league either home or away during the pool stage.

At the conclusion of the pool stage, the four highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the Round of 16 and the clubs ranked number five in each of the pools will qualify for the knockout stage of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The EPCR Challenge Cup will be competed for by 18 clubs with eight representatives from the URC, six from the TOP 14, two from the Premiership, plus two invited clubs which will be announced shortly. (See clubs below)

The clubs will be drawn or allocated into three pools of six with two TOP 14 clubs in each pool. Clubs from the same URC Shield and from the Premiership, as well as the two invitees, will be kept apart during the draw.

Clubs will play four different opponents home or away with same-league matches being kept to a minimum, and only impacting clubs from the URC. The four highest-ranked clubs from each of the pools will qualify for the knockout stage.

The pool draws for the 2023/24 tournaments will take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday 21 June and will be broadcast live on EPCRugby.TV. Further details and timings will be communicated shortly.

2023/24 CHAMPIONS CUP QUALIFIERS
TOP 14 – Stade Rochelais, Stade Toulousain, Racing 92, Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Lyon, Stade Français Paris, RC Toulon, Aviron Bayonnais
GALLAGHER PREMIERSHIP – Saracens, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints, Harlequins, Exeter Chiefs, Bath Rugby, Bristol Bears
BKT UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP – Munster Rugby, DHL Stormers, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Vodacom Bulls, Connacht Rugby, Cardiff Rugby

2023/24 EPCR CHALLENGE CUP QUALIFIERS
BKT UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP – Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions, Benetton Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, Ospreys, Scarlets, Dragons RFC, Zebre Parma
TOP 14 – Castres Olympique, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Montpellier Herault Rugby, Section Paloise, USAP, Oyonnax Rugby
GALLAGHER PREMIERSHIP – Gloucester Rugby, Newcastle Falcons
INVITED – Two clubs to be confirmed

2023/24 WEEKENDS
Round 1 – 8/9/10 December 2023
Round 2 – 15/16/17 December 2023
Round 3 – 12/13/14 January 2024
Round 4 – 19/20/21 January 2024
Round of 16 – 5/6/7 April 2024
Quarter-finals – 12/13/14 April 2024
Semi-finals – 3/4/5 May 2024
EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 24 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Champions Cup final – Saturday 25 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The following user(s) said Thank You: bas

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69441

So other than the Top seeds (La Rochelle, Saracens, Munster and Toulouse/Leinster) it's a completely open draw. I must say I wasn't expecting that curveball even from EPCR.
So all our fretting about the seeding order was a moot point. Only winning the league would have gotten us anywhere.
So we could get Toulouse, La Rochelle, Saracens and Sale
Or equally La Rochelle, Bayonne, Bath and Bristol
Bit of a difference there.

So the immediate question is who do we want to win the Top 14 final on Saturday?
If Toulouse win, we will play one of Toulouse, La Rochelle or Saracens
If La Rochelle win, we will play either La Rochelle or Saracens

Of the three I would prefer La Rochelle as we play Toulouse too often and frankly I could do without Saracens in my life right now.
A La Rochelle win would mean we would have a higher chance of getting them, but also a higher chance of getting Saracens.
I think I'll go for a La Rochelle win as the better option. Even if we get Saracens, that increases our chances of getting one (or even two) of the more beatable French teams like Bayonne or Lyon.

The rule about not being in the same pool as the other Irish teams makes no sense to me since we can't play them anyway. It means Cardiff, etc., have a good chance of avoiding all the top seeds but we don't.

This will take time to digest ...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
1 year 1 month ago #69442

Draw from 12:30pm Irish Time on Wednesday, Challenge Cup done first. On epcrugby.tv/

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 1 month ago #69443

This is my favourite part of the press release :

"Fixtures will be determined using an algorithm which will take into consideration the pool draws, league calendar restrictions, individual club calendar restrictions and broadcast requirements"

What in the hell does that even mean? In this case the fixture list is hugely important, as it will determine which teams you play at home and which away, and that will be done behind closed doors with no accountability or transparency. In my @r$€ there is an algorithm ...

Last edit: 1 year 1 month ago by pinky.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 4 weeks ago #69444

In retrospect maybe Toulouse winning was better as it least it rules out being drawn with both of them ...

rugby.connacht.pink/?p=143

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
1 year 3 weeks ago #69446

So Connacht will play Saracens, Bristol, Bordeaux and Lyon. The Bulls are the other URC side in the pool.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • pinky
  • pinky's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
1 year 3 weeks ago #69447

Not far off my ideal draw. Would have preferred Bayonne to Bordeaux but the lack of seeding really worked in our favour.
All the teams in Leinster's pool finished in the top 4 in their league regular season, whereas only two of ours did ...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

logo