European Rugby Champions Cup

The European Rugby Champions Cup (commonly known as the Heineken Champions Cup) is an annual rugby union competition, contested by the top club sides that make up the Six Nations. Formerly known as the Heineken Cup, Leinster and Toulouse have both won the competition on four occasions.

Leinster are the current holders, having defeated Racing 92 in the 2018 final 15-12.


20 teams qualify for the European Rugby Champions Cup, with 19 of the teams qualifying via the following methods:

  • England – Top 6 teams in the Premiership Rugby competition
  • France – Top 6 teams in the Top 14 competition
  • Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales – Top 7 teams in the Pro14 competition

The 20th team is determined by the following:

  1. European Rugby Champions Cup winner if not already qualified
  2. European Rugby Challenge Cup winner if not already qualified
  3. European Rugby Champions Cup runner-up if not already qualified
  4. European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finalist if one has not already qualified (a play-off is held if both have not qualified)
  5. Highest ranked club from the same league as European Rugby Champions Cup who has not already qualified

Teams are divided into 5 groups of 4 teams, playing each other in home and away fixtures. The 5 pool winners and 3 best runners-up go through to the quarter finals knockout stages, followed by semi-finals and concluding in the Final.

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