The capital side joins Leinster as the Pro14’s top two seeds in the up and coming 2020/2021 European champions cup season after a comprehensive season that sees them top their conference. Glasgow Warriors will also qualify under the updated format as well though they will more likely be within the third tier of clubs to join from the Pro14.
Under the new Champions cup format the tournament will have 24 teams under two conferences for want of a better word. Starting to look familiar? It probably should as the champions cup seems to have taken a leaf out of the Pro14 books when it comes to the format.
The 24 teams are decided by taking the top 8 teams from the Pro14, Top14 and the Gallagher premiership. Meaning both Glasgow and Edinburgh would qualify, with the Castle club sitting pretty as the Pro14’s top seed provided they can beat Ulster in the semi-final this weekend.
The clubs are assigned to each “conference” via a draw that will take place following the conclusion of each of the participating competitions. From a Pro14 perspective the leaders of each conference will be placed on opposite sides of this new format. This would apply also to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th from each conference as well.
The top 8 teams would then go on to the knockout stages with the final set to be played in May 2021 in Marsielles. In this case the 4 highest ranked clubs from each Champions Cup conference will play the knockouts. However don’t despair if you don’t make the cut because the clubs placed 5th to 8th in each conference will get to compete in the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup.
With silverware on the line and a packed schedule it will be interesting to see how this tournament unfolds amongst the backdrop of the current season. The current start of the competition is listed to start the weekend of the 11/12/13 of December.