The 2020/21 European Rugby season sees the introduction of a new format - for this season only. We have highlighted below the key information for this new format...
- 24 clubs will compete in the Heineken Champions Cup
- The eight highest-ranked clubs from the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 secured their places.
The clubs were then drawn into two pools of 12 and the tournament will be played over eight weekends, with four rounds of matches in the pool stage followed by a knockout stage consisting of home and away quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in Marseille on 22 May 2021.
For the pool draw, the clubs were separated into 4 tiers, and clubs from the same league in the same tier could not be drawn into the same pool.
- The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from each league were in Tier 1
- The number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs in Tier 2
- The number 5 and 6 ranked clubs in Tier 3
- The number 7 and number 8 ranked clubs in Tier 4.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which were 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 were drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.
The four highest-ranked clubs in each pool will qualify for the quarter-finals, with the clubs ranked 5 to 8 in each pool dropping down to compete in the knockout stage of the Challenge Cup.
The 2020/21 Challenge Cup starts with 14 clubs – six from the TOP 14, four from the Premiership and four from the PRO14. The tournament will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the preliminary stage and again, clubs from the same league will not play against one another.
The tournament knockout stage will consist of a Round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals with the final in Marseille on 21 May 2021. The leading eight clubs, as well as eight representatives from the Heineken Champions Cup, will qualify for the Round of 16.
2020/21 Season Weekends
Round 1: 11/12/13 December 2020
Round 2: 18/19/20 December 2020
Round 3: 15/16/17 January 2021
Round 4: 22/23/24 January 2021
Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 1st leg / Challenge Cup Round of 16: 2/3/4 April 2021
Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 2nd leg / Challenge Cup quarter-finals: 9/10/11 April 2021
Semi-finals: 30 April – 1/2 May 2021
Finals: 21 and 22 May 2021