New format for European play-offs

Date published: September 25 2014

The play-off system for next season’s European Champions Cup has been changed, European Professional Club Rugby has announced.

With 19 clubs automatically qualifying for the competition, there is one remaining spot available to be fought for between the next highest ranked teams in each of the Aviva Premiership, Guinness PRO12 and the Top 14.

The initial plan was for a four-team play-off featuring the seventh-placed sides in England and France, and the eighth and ninth-placed teams in the Pro12.

However because of an issue with scheduling, the format has been adjusted and will instead feature just one team from the Pro12.

The play-offs will take place over two weekends, with the eighth-placed Pro12 side, or highest-ranked non-qualifier, taking on the English qualifier on May 23, with the home side to be decided by the toss of a coin.

The winner will then qualify for the final play-off game a week later where they will host the Top 14 qualifier.

“By modifying the Champions Cup play-off format, we’ve respected the wishes of the three leagues,” said EPCR director general Jacques Pineau.

“The EPCR management committee has accepted to change the initial planned format and we are certain that the play-offs will serve only to increase the highlight what promises to be an exciting season of European club rugby.”