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EPCR Pool Draws completed for 2024/25 season

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    Posted: 02-Jul-2024 at 4:27pm
  • The Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup pool draws took place in Finals host city Cardiff
  • Investec Champions Cup title-holders Stade Toulousain joined in Pool 1 by EPCR Challenge Cup winners Hollywoodbets Sharks
  • Leinster-Stade Rochelais rivalry set to reignite
  • URC runners-up Vodacom Bulls face competition heavyweights Northampton Saints, Munster Rugby and Saracens
  • EPCR Challenge Cup debutants RC Vannes to face this season's runners-up Gloucester Rugby and Tbilisi’s Black Lion
  • 2024/25 season fixtures set to be announced later this month
  • The EPCR Finals Weekend will take place at Cardiff’s iconic Principality Stadium

The Road to Cardiff got underway today (Tuesday 2 July) as the Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup Pool Draws took place in the heartland of rugby in Wales.

In the shadow of the Principality Stadium, which will play host to the EPCR Finals Weekend next year, presenters Sarra Elgan and Vincent Pochulu were once again at the helm and joined by Elma Smit as ball drawer and official scrutineer Simon Thomas, partner at Hutchinson Thomas. The Draws were streamed live on EPCRugby.com and EPCR TV, as well as being broadcast on beIN SPORTS in France, SuperSport in South Africa, and FloRugby in the US and Canada.

Once again, the formats of the 2024/25 Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup follow the pool format to which the competitions returned last season, and fans will already be anticipating some compelling clashes between some of the world’s very best elite clubs ahead of December’s kick-off.

Investec Champions Cup holders and TOP 14 Champions Stade Toulousain were first out of the drum in the Investec Champions Cup draw and joined in Pool 1 by EPCR Challenge Cup champions Hollywoodbets Sharks. Gallagher Premiership sides Exeter Chiefs and Leicester Tigers also sit in Pool 1, completed by TOP 14 runners-up Union Bordeaux-Bègles and the URC’s Ulster Rugby.

Leinster Rugby kicked off Pool 2, where once again they are joined by Stade Rochelais – a new rivalry that is fast becoming legendary. Benetton Rugby, returning to the Investec Champions Cup, and ASM Clermont Auvergne also join Pool 2 alongside England’s West Country rivals Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby.
Champions Cup heavyweights Munster Rugby and Saracens join Gallagher Premiership champions – and previous European winners – Northampton Saints in Pool 3, completed by TOP 14’s Stade Français Paris and Castres Olympique.

Newly-crowned URC winners Glasgow Warriors head Pool 4, with Racing 92, Sale Sharks, DHL Stormers, RC Toulon and Harlequins completing the pool and the Investec Champions Cup draw.

The Investec Champions Cup has two clubs from each of three leagues – TOP 14, Gallagher Premiership and United Rugby Championship (URC) – in each pool, and clubs from the URC’s Irish and South African shields were kept apart during the draw.

Tier 1 was made up of Stade Toulousain (Investec Champions Cup and TOP 14 champions), Northampton Saints (Gallagher Premiership champions), Glasgow Warriors (URC champions) and Leinster Rugby (Investec Champions Cup runners-up).

The remaining 20 clubs were either drawn or allocated into the four pools in keeping with the draw’s key principles. During the pool stage, each club will play four matches against four different clubs which are not from the same league either home or away.

In the EPCR Challenge Cup, Cardiff Rugby were fittingly first out of the drum and joined by Connacht Rugby, the Toyota Cheetahs – the invited club to be based out of Amsterdam – USAP, Lyon Olympique Universitaire and Zebre Parma.

Pool 2 sees TOP 14 clubs Montpellier Hérault Rugby and Section Paloise drawn alongside Dragons RFC, Emirates Lions and Ospreys from the URC, and the Gallagher Premiership’s Newcastle Falcons.

This season’s runners-up Gloucester Rugby are drawn into Pool 3 alongside EPCR debut club RC Vannes, newly-promoted to the TOP 14. Georgia’s Black Lion join Pool 3, ensuring a rematch between Gloucester Rugby and Black Lion.

Clubs will play four matches against four different opponents during the pool stage with same league matches kept to a minimum, and only impacting clubs from the URC.

With the Pools now set, fixture schedules for both tournaments including dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage will be announced later this month. Fixtures are determined following the input of individual club calendar and venue considerations, broadcast requirements and league calendar restrictions into an algorithm with the outcomes of today’s Pool Draws, all of which considerations are taken into account to deliver the optimum fixture schedules.

The 2024/25 Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup seasons will again be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting in December, followed by a knockout stage consisting of a Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, culminating in the EPCR Finals Weekend at Cardiff’s iconic Principality Stadium on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 May 2025.  

2024/25 INVESTEC CHAMPIONS CUP
Pool 1: Stade Toulousain, Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Hollywoodbets Sharks, Exeter Chiefs, Leicester Tigers, Ulster Rugby
Pool 2: Leinster Rugby, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Stade Rochelais, Bristol Bears, Benetton Rugby, Bath Rugby
Pool 3: Northampton Saints, Munster Rugby, Vodacom Bulls, Stade Français Paris, Saracens, Castres Olympique
Pool 4: Glasgow Warriors, Racing 92, Sale Sharks, DHL Stormers, RC Toulon, Harlequins

2024/25 EPCR CHALLENGE CUP
Pool 1:  Cardiff Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Toyota Cheetahs, USAP, Lyon Olympique Universitaire, Zebre Parma
Pool 2: Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Section Paloise, Newcastle Falcons, Dragons RFC, Emirates Lions, Ospreys
Pool 3:: RC Vannes, Black Lion, Aviron Bayonnais, Scarlets, Edinburgh Rugby, Gloucester Rugby

2024/25 weekends
Round 1 – 6/7/8 December 2024
Round 2 – 13/14/15 December 2024
Round 3 – 10/11/12 January 2025
Round 4 – 17/18/19 January 2025
Round of 16 – 4/5/6 April 2025
Quarter-finals – 11/12/13 April 2025
Semi-finals – 2/3/4 May 2025
EPCR Challenge Cup Final – Friday 23 May 2025, Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Investec Champions Cup Final – Saturday 24 May 2025, Principality Stadium, Cardiff
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