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2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup

The 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup was the third European Rugby Champions Cup championship (22nd overall), the annual rugby union club competition for teams from the top six nations in European rugby. The competition replaced the Heineken Cup, which was Europe's top-tier competition for rugby clubs for the first nineteen years of professional European rugby union.[1] The opening round of the tournament took place on the weekend of 14/15/16 October 2016. The final took place on 13 May 2017 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh.[2][3]

2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup
Tournament details
Countries England
 France
 Ireland
 Italy
 Scotland
 Wales
Tournament format(s)Round-robin and Knockout
Date14 October 2016 – 13 May 2017
Tournament statistics
Teams20
Matches played67
Attendance1,018,026 (15,194 per match)
Highest Attendance55,272
(The Final: Saracens v Clermont)
Lowest Attendance2,500
(Zebre v Wasps)
Tries scored363 (5.42 per match)
Top point scorer(s)Owen Farrell (Saracens)
(126 points)
Top try scorer(s)Isa Nacewa (Leinster)
(7 tries)
Final
VenueMurrayfield, Edinburgh
ChampionsEngland Saracens (2nd title)
Runners-upFrance Clermont
← 2015–16 (Previous)
(Next) 2017–18 →

English side Saracens were the 2015–16 champions, having beaten Racing 92 of France in the 2016 final in Lyon.

Saracens retained the cup, defeating Clermont in the final 28–17.[4][5][6]

TeamsEdit

Twenty clubs from the three major European domestic and regional leagues competed in the Champions Cup. Nineteen of these qualified directly as a result of their league performance.

The distribution of teams was:

  • England: 6 clubs
  • France: 7 clubs
  • Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales: 7 clubs, based on performance in the Pro12.
    • The best placed club from each nation. (4 clubs)
    • The 3 highest ranked clubs not qualified thereafter. (3 clubs)

Due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, it was decided that the play-off system that had previously decided the final team would be suspended, and that this year the winner of the 2015–16 European Rugby Challenge Cup would automatically qualify for the tournament. In the event this team had already qualified, the team's domestic league would be allocated an extra qualifying place.[7]

The following teams qualified for the 2016–17 tournament.

Aviva Premiership Top 14 Pro 12
  England   France   Ireland   Italy   Scotland   Wales

This was the first time all four Irish provinces qualified for Europe's top club competition on their own merits, as Connacht's two previous appearances in the former Heineken Cup had been as a result of Leinster winning that cup the previous season.

Team detailsEdit

Below is the list of coaches, captain and stadiums with their method of qualification for each team.

Note: Placing shown in brackets, denotes standing at the end of the regular season for their respective leagues, with their end of season positioning shown through CH for Champions, RU for Runner-up, SF for losing Semi-finalist and QF for losing Quarter-finalist.

Team Coach /
Director of Rugby
Captain Stadium Capacity Method of Qualification
  Bordeaux Bègles   Raphaël Ibañez   Hugh Chalmers Stade Chaban-Delmas 34,694 Top 14 top 7 (7th)
  Castres   Christophe Urios   Rodrigo Capo Ortega Stade Pierre-Antoine 11,500 Top 14 top 7 (6th) (QF)
  Clermont   Franck Azéma   Damien Chouly Stade Marcel-Michelin 19,022 Top 14 top 7 (1st) (SF)
  Connacht   Pat Lam   John Muldoon Galway Sportsgrounds 8,100 Pro12 top 7 (2nd) (CH)
  Exeter Chiefs   Rob Baxter   Jack Yeandle Sandy Park 12,600 Aviva Premiership top 6 (2nd) (RU)
  Glasgow Warriors   Gregor Townsend   Jonny Gray Scotstoun Stadium 7,351 Pro 12 top Scottish team (3rd) (SF)
  Leicester Tigers   Aaron Mauger (For
  Richard Cockerill)
[a]
  Tom Youngs Welford Road 25,800 Aviva Premiership top 6 (4th) (SF)
  Leinster   Leo Cullen   Isa Nacewa RDS Arena
Aviva Stadium
18,500
51,700
Pro 12 top Irish team (1st) (RU)
  Montpellier   Jake White   Fulgence Ouedraogo Altrad Stadium 14,700 Challenge Cup winner, Top 14 top 7 (3rd) (SF)
  Munster   Rassie Erasmus   Peter O'Mahony Thomond Park 25,600 Pro12 top 7 (6th)
  Northampton Saints   Jim Mallinder   Tom Wood Franklin's Gardens 15,500 Aviva Premiership top 6 (5th)
  Racing 92   Laurent Labit
  Laurent Travers
  Dimitri Szarzewski Stade Yves-du-Manoir 14,400 Top 14 top 7 (4th) (CH)
  Sale Sharks   Steve Diamond   Josh Beaumont AJ Bell Stadium 12,000 Aviva Premiership top 6 (6th)
  Saracens   Mark McCall   Brad Barritt Allianz Park 10,000 Aviva Premiership top 6 (1st) (CH)
  Scarlets   Wayne Pivac   Ken Owens Parc y Scarlets 14,870 Pro 12 top Welsh team (5th)
  Toulon   Mike Ford (For
  Diego Domínguez)
[b]
  Juan Smith Stade Mayol 15,820 Top 14 top 7 (2nd) (RU)
  Toulouse   Ugo Mola   Thierry Dusautoir Stade Ernest-Wallon 19,500 Top 14 top 7 (5th) (QF)
  Ulster   Les Kiss   Andrew Trimble Kingspan Stadium 18,196 Pro12 top 7 (4th) (SF)
  Wasps   Dai Young   Joe Launchbury Ricoh Arena 32,609 Aviva Premiership top 6 (3rd) (SF)
  Zebre   Víctor Jiménez (For
  Gianluca Guidi)
[c]
  George Biagi Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi 5,000 Pro 12 top Italian team (11th)

SeedingEdit

The 20 competing teams are seeded and split into four tiers, each containing 5 teams.

For the purpose of creating the tiers, clubs are ranked based on their domestic league performances and on their qualification for the knockout phases of their championships, so a losing quarter-finalist in the Top 14 would be seeded below a losing semi-finalist, even if they finished above them in the regular season.[11]

Rank Top 14 Premiership Pro 12
1   Racing 92   Saracens   Connacht
2   Toulon   Exeter Chiefs   Leinster
3   Clermont   Wasps   Glasgow Warriors
4   Montpellier   Leicester Tigers   Ulster
5   Toulouse   Northampton Saints   Scarlets
6   Castres   Sale Sharks   Munster
7   Bordeaux Bègles   Zebre

Based on these seedings, teams are placed into one of the four tiers, with the top seed clubs being put in Tier 1. The nature of the tier system means that a draw is needed to allocate two of the three second seed clubs to Tier 1. Exeter Chiefs and Leinster were drawn into Tier 1, meaning the remaining side - Toulon went into Tier 2. As a result of this draw, Montpellier also entered Tier 2, as the fourth seed from the league of the second seed placed in Tier 2. The other two fourth-ranked sides fell into Tier 3.[12]

The tiers are shown below. Brackets show each team's seeding and their league (for example, 1 Top 14 indicates the team was seeded 1st from the Top 14).

Tier 1   Saracens (1 AP)   Connacht (1 Pro12)   Racing 92 (1 Top 14)   Exeter Chiefs (2 AP)   Leinster (2 Pro12)
Tier 2   Toulon (2 Top 14)   Wasps (3 AP)   Glasgow Warriors (3 Pro12)   Clermont (3 Top 14)   Montpellier (4 Top 14)
Tier 3   Leicester Tigers (4 AP)   Ulster (4 Pro12)   Northampton Saints (5 AP)   Scarlets (5 Pro12)   Toulouse (5 Top 14)
Tier 4   Sale Sharks (6 AP)   Munster (6 Pro12)   Castres (6 Top 14)   Zebre (7 Pro12)   Bordeaux Bègles (7 Top 14)

The following restrictions will apply to the draw:[12]

  • Each pool will consist of four clubs, one from each Tier in the draw.
  • Each pool must have one from each league drawn from Tier 1,2 or 3. No pool will have a second team from the same league until the allocation of Tier 4 takes place.
  • Where two PRO12 clubs compete in the same pool, they must be from different countries.

Pool stageEdit

The draw took place on 29 June 2016, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Teams will play each other twice, both at home and away, in the group stage, that will begin on weekend of 14/15/16 October 2016, and continue through to 20/21/22 January 2017, before the pool winners and three best runners-up progressed to the quarter finals.

Teams will be awarded competition points, based on match result. Teams receive 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, 1 attacking bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match and 1 defensive bonus point for losing a match by seven points or fewer.[13]

In the event of a tie between two or more teams, the following tie-breakers will be used, as directed by EPCR:

  1. Where teams have played each other
    1. The club with the greater number of competition points from only matches involving tied teams.
    2. If equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from those matches.
    3. If equal, the club that scored the most tries in those matches.
  2. Where teams remain tied and/or have not played each other in the competition (i.e. are from different pools)
    1. The club with the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage.
    2. If equal, the club that scored the most tries in the pool stage.
    3. If equal, the club with the fewest players suspended in the pool stage.
    4. If equal, the drawing of lots will determine a club's ranking.
Key to colours
     Winner of each pool, advance to quarter-finals.
     Three highest-scoring second-place teams advance to quarter-finals.

Pool 1Edit

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
  Munster (2) 6 5 0 1 160 64 +96 18 4 3 1 24
  Glasgow Warriors (6) 6 4 0 2 160 86 +74 18 10 2 1 19
  Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 61 190 –129 3 23 0 0 8
  Racing 92 6 1 0 5 89 130 –41 12 14 1 0 5

Pool 2Edit

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
  Wasps (5) 6 4 1 1 210 112 +98 28 13 3 1 22
  Toulouse (7) 6 3 1 2 164 91 +73 22 10 2 2 18
  Connacht 6 4 0 2 188 118 +70 26 15 2 0 18
  Zebre 6 0 0 6 90 331 −241 11 49 0 0 0

Pool 3Edit

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
  Saracens (3) 6 5 1 0 181 87 +94 20 6 2 0 24
  Toulon (8) 6 3 0 3 120 100 +20 12 10 2 2 16
  Scarlets 6 2 1 3 141 154 –13 11 15 0 1 11
  Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 66 167 –101 7 19 0 0 4

Pool 4Edit

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
  Leinster (4) 6 4 1 1 227 87 +140 31 10 4 1 23
  Montpellier 6 3 0 3 120 149 –29 15 15 2 2 16
  Castres 6 2 1 3 144 147 –3 15 20 1 1 12
  Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 91 199 −108 10 26 1 0 9

Pool 5Edit

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
  Clermont (1) 6 5 0 1 211 131 +80 26 18 5 1 26
  Bordeaux Bègles 6 3 0 3 118 120 –2 11 13 1 1 14
  Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 110 146 –36 13 16 2 2 12
  Ulster 6 2 0 4 131 173 –42 16 19 1 1 10

Ranking of pool leaders and runners-upEdit

Rank Pool Leaders Pts Diff TF
1   Clermont 26 +80 26
2   Munster 24 +96 18
3   Saracens 24 +94 20
4   Leinster 23 +140 31
5   Wasps 22 +98 28
Rank Pool Runners–up Pts Diff TF
6   Glasgow Warriors 19 +74 18
7   Toulouse 18 +73 20
8   Toulon 16 +20 12
9   Montpellier 16 –29 15
10   Bordeaux Bègles 14 –2 11

Knock-out stageEdit

FormatEdit

The eight qualifiers are ranked according to their performance in the pool stage and compete in the quarter-finals which will be held on the weekend of 31 March, 1/2 April 2017. The four top teams will host the quarter-finals against the four lower teams in a 1v8, 2v7, 3v6 and 4v5 format.

The semi-finals will played on the weekend of 22/23 April 2017. In lieu of the draw that used to determine the semi-final pairing, EPCR announced that a fixed semi-final bracket would be set in advance, and that the home team would be designated based on "performances by clubs during the pool stages as well as the achievement of a winning a quarter-final match away from home". Semi-final matches must be played at a neutral ground in the designated home team's country.

Home country advantage will be awarded as follows:[13]

The winners of the semi-finals will contest the final, at Murrayfield, on 13 May 2017.[3]

BracketEdit

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
         
3   Saracens 38
6   Glasgow Warriors 13
  Saracens 26
  Munster 10
2   Munster 41
7   Toulouse 16
  Saracens 28
  Clermont 17
1   Clermont 29
8   Toulon 9
  Clermont 27
  Leinster 22
4   Leinster 32
5   Wasps 17

Quarter-finalsEdit

1 April 2017
15:15
Leinster   (4) 32–17 (5)   Wasps
Try: Nacewa 14' m
Conan 33' c
Henshaw 40' c
McFadden 73' c
Con: Sexton (3/4) 34', 40', 75'
Pen: Sexton (2/2) 6', 48'
Report[14] Try: Wade 52' c
Gopperth 59' c
Con: Gopperth (2/2) 53', 61'
Pen: Gopperth (1/1) 31'
Aviva Stadium
Attendance: 50,266
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
1 April 2017
17:45
Munster   (2) 41–16 (7)   Toulouse
Try: J. Ryan 4' c
Stander 47' m
Sweetnam 75' c
Conway 79' c
Con: Bleyendaal (3/4) 4', 77', 80'
Pen: Bleyendaal (5/5) 9', 26', 42', 52', 74'
Report[15] Try: Perez 54' c
Con: Doussain (1/1) 55'
Pen: Doussain (3/3) 19', 31', 40'
Thomond Park
Attendance: 26,200
Referee: JP Doyle (RFU)
2 April 2017
13:00
Saracens   (3) 38–13 (6)   Glasgow Warriors
Try: Ashton (2) 31' m, 78' c
Bosch 59' c
Barritt 73' c
Con: Farrell (3/4) 59', 73', 78'
Pen: Farrell (4/4) 9', 15', 27', 70'
Report[16] Try: Jones 48' m
Wilson 80' m
Pen: Russell (1/1) 11'
Allianz Park
Attendance: 15,000[a 1]
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (FFR)
2 April 2017
16:15
Clermont   (1) 29–9 (8)   Toulon
Try: Nakaitaci 61' c
Penaud 80' c
Con: Parra (2/2) 61', 80'
Pen: Parra (4/4) 5', 29', 45', 78'
Drop: Lopez (1/1) 71'
Report[18] Pen: Halfpenny (3/3) 21', 34', 58'
  1. ^ Due to European Rugby rules regarding minimum capacity for knockout matches, Saracens home ground Allianz Park was expanded from 10,000 to 15,000 using temporary seating to enable them to host their quarter final fixture.[17]

Semi-finalsEdit

22 April 2017
15:15
Munster   10–26   Saracens
Try: Stander 80' c
Con: Keatley (1/1) 80'
Pen: Bleyendaal (1/2) 7'
Report[19] Try: M. Vunipola 54' c
Wyles 70' c
Con: Farrell (2/2) 55', 72'
Pen: Farrell (4/4) 17', 35', 64', 75'
Aviva Stadium
Attendance: 51,300
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)
23 April 2017
16:00
Clermont   27–22   Leinster
Try: Yato 4' c
Strettle 15' m
Con: Parra (1/2) 6'
Pen: Parra (2/3) 10', 57'
Lopez (1/1) 72'
Drop: Lopez (2/2) 64', 76'
Report[20] Try: Ringrose 68' c
Con: Sexton (1/1) 69'
Pen: Sexton (5/5) 41'+3, 44', 49', 54', 79'
Matmut Stadium de Gerland
Attendance: 40,024
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

FinalEdit

13 May 2017
17:00
Saracens   28–17   Clermont
Try: Ashton 12' m
Kruis 21' c
Goode 72' c
Con: Farrell (2/3) 22', 73'
Pen: Farrell (3/3) 50', 57', 78'
Report[21] Try: Lamerat 26' c
Abendanon 51' c
Con: Parra (2/2) 27', 53'
Pen: Parra (1/1) 60'
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 55,272
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

AttendancesEdit

  • Does not include final as they are played at a neutral venue.
Club Home
Games
Total Average Highest Lowest % Capacity
  Bordeaux Bègles 3 63,399 21,133 21,196 21,071 61%
  Castres 3 23,745 7,915 8,405 7,040 69%
  Clermont[d] 5 112,802 22,560 40,024 17,201 95%
  Connacht 3 21,788 7,263 8,091 5,607 90%
  Exeter Chiefs 3 29,693 9,898 10,671 9,143 79%
  Glasgow Warriors 3 22,053 7,351 7,351 7,351 100%
  Leicester Tigers 3 62,606 20,869 24,213 19,048 81%
  Leinster 4 120,325 30,081 50,266 13,890 85%
  Montpellier 3 26,839 8,946 11,260 10,679 61%
  Munster[e] 5 154,900 30,980 51,300 25,600 100%
  Northampton Saints 3 42,895 14,298 15,151 13,645 92%
  Racing 92 3 23,554 7,851 9,233 5,449 56%
  Sale Sharks 3 19,835 6,612 9,402 4,275 55%
  Saracens 4 42,830 10,708 15,000 8,746 95%
  Scarlets 3 22,591 7,530 8,579 6,521 51%
  Toulon 3 38,396 12,799 14,103 11,978 81%
  Toulouse 3 36,607 12,202 14,206 10,378 47%
  Ulster 3 48,083 16,028 16,843 14,924 88%
  Wasps 3 41,313 13,771 17,248 10,701 42%
  Zebre 3 8,500 2,833 3,000 2,500 57%

[22]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Richard Cockerill began the tournament as Leicester Tigers head coach, but was replaced with Aaron Mauger on 2 January 2017 after Cockerill was sacked by the Tigers.[8]
  2. ^ Diego Domínguez began the tournament as Toulon's head coach, but was replaced with Mike Ford on 24 October 2016.[9]
  3. ^ Gianluca Guidi began the tournament as Zebre head coach, but on mutual agreement with the club and himself, left his post as head coach on 17 January 2017. He was replaced with Víctor Jiménez.[10]
  4. ^ Figures include semi-final 'home game' played at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland in Lyon.
  5. ^ Figures include semi-final 'home game' played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Inaugural EPCR finals set for London Archived 2014-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Key 2016/17 European club rugby dates". epcrugby.com.
  3. ^ a b "Lyon to host 2016 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals with Edinburgh chosen for 2017". epcrugby.com.
  4. ^ "Clermont Auvergne 17-28 Saracens: European Champions Cup final – as it happened". Guardian. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Clermont Auvergne 17-28 Saracens: Sarries win European Champions Cup after edging out French side in thrilling Murrayfield final". Daily Mail. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Saracens 28-17 Clermont: Sarries win thriller to retain Champions Cup". Daily Telegraph. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Key 2015/16 EPCR dates and Champions Cup play-offs". epcrugby.com.
  8. ^ "Richard Cockerill: Leicester Tigers sack director of rugby". Planet Rugby. 2 January 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Mike Ford: Ex-Bath head coach named Toulon boss". Planet Rugby. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  10. ^ "RESCISSO CONSENSUALMENTE IL CONTRATTO TRA LE ZEBRE RUGBY E L'HEAD COACH GIANLUCA GUIDI" [Press Release Zebre]. Zebre (in Italian). Zebre Rugby srl. 21 February 2015. Archived from the original on 20 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2014-06-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) ERCRugby.com. Accessed 8 June 2014
  12. ^ a b European Rugby Pool Draws for 2015/16 season - EPCRugby.com
  13. ^ a b "Champions Cup Rules". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  14. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-09. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  15. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-09. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  16. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-06-11. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Saracens hope to stage Champions Cup quarter-final at Allianz Park - Mark McCall". Belfast Telegraph. 16 January 2017.
  18. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-09. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  19. ^ "REPORT: Saracens march on to BT Murrayfield". www.epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  20. ^ "PREVIEW: Leinster chasing Champions Cup history". www.epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-04-24. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  21. ^ "REPORT: Saracens claim Champions Cup glory in thriller". www.epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-23. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  22. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup 16/17 Home attendance". Rugby Statbunker. 23 April 2017.