2018–19 European Rugby Champions Cup
The 2018–19 European Rugby Champions Cup (known as the Heineken Champions Cup for sponsorship reasons) is the fifth season of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the annual club rugby union competition run by European Professional Club Rugby (ECPR) for teams from the top six nations in Europe. It is the 24th season of pan-European professional club rugby competition. This competition is the first to be sponsored by Heineken since the 2013–14 season.
|2018–19 Heineken Champions Cup|
|Tournament format(s)||Round-robin and knockout|
|Date||12 October 2018 – 11 May 2019|
|Attendance||1,020,286 (15,228 per match)|
|Highest Attendance||51,930 - Saracens v Leinster (Final)|
(11 May 2019)
|Lowest Attendance||6,383 - Newcastle v Montpellier|
(21 October 2018)
|Tries scored||376 (5.61 per match)|
|Top point scorer(s)|| Owen Farrell (Saracens)|
|Top try scorer(s)|| Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)|
Sean Cronin (Leinster)
6 tries each
|Venue||St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Champions||Saracens (3rd title)|
The tournament started on 12 October 2018. The final, featuring the last two winners of the event, Saracens and Leinster, took place on 11 May 2019 at St James' Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with Saracens being crowned champions for the third time.
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.
- Champions Cup winner, if not already qualified
- Challenge Cup winner, if not already qualified
- Challenge Cup losing finalist, if not already qualified
- Challenge Cup semi-finalist, if not already qualified, or the winner of a play-off between both semi-finalists, if both have not already qualified
- Highest ranked non-qualified club by virtue of league position from the same league as the Champions Cup winner
The distribution of teams is:
- England: 7 clubs
- France: 6 clubs
- The top 6 clubs in the Top 14. (6 clubs)
- Ireland, Scotland & Wales: 7 clubs, based on performance in the Pro14.
- Following the inclusion of 2 South African teams into the Pro14, the tournament format and qualification process was changed.
- The top 3 sides in each Pro14 conference (not including the South African sides, who are not eligible for European competition), automatically qualify for the Champions Cup. The previous requirement for each country (Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) to be represented was waived beginning with this season. (6 Teams)
- The next best placed eligible team in each conference compete in a one-off play-off game to determine the 7th Pro14 team. (1 Team)
The following teams qualified for the 2018–19 tournament.
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, QF for losing Quarter-finalist, and PO for the Pro14 7th place play-off winner.
The twenty competing teams are seeded and split into four tiers, each containing five 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. For example, a losing quarter-finalist would be seeded below a losing semi-finalist, even if they finished above them in the regular season.
|3||Racing 92||Wasps||Glasgow Warriors|
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 and to allocate one of the three fourth seed clubs to Tier 2. 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 Prem)||Leinster (1 Pro14)||Castres (1 Top 14)||Scarlets (2 Pro14)||Montpellier (2 Top 14)|
|Tier 2||Exeter Chiefs (2 Prem)||Wasps (3 Prem)||Glasgow Warriors (3 Pro14)||Racing 92 (3 Top 14)||Newcastle Falcons (4 Prem)|
|Tier 3||Munster (4 Pro14)||Lyon (4 Top 14)||Leicester Tigers (5 Prem)||Edinburgh (5 Pro14)||Toulouse (5 Top 14)|
|Tier 4||Bath (6 Prem)||Cardiff Blues (6 Pro14)||Toulon (6 Top 14)||Ulster (Play-off Pro14)||Gloucester (CC)|
The following restrictions will apply to the draw:
- 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 Pro14 clubs compete in the same pool, they must be from different countries.
Teams in the same pool play each other twice, at home and away, in the group stage that begins on the weekend of 12–14 October 2018, and continues through to 18–20 January 2019. The five pool winners and three best runners-up progress to the quarter finals.
Teams are awarded group points based on match performances. Four points are awarded for a win, two points for a draw, one attacking bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match and one defensive bonus point for losing a match by seven points or fewer.
In the event of a tie between two or more teams, the following tie-breakers are used, as directed by EPCR:
- Where teams have played each other
- The club with the greater number of competition points from only matches involving tied teams.
- If equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from those matches.
- If equal, the club that scored the most tries in those matches.
- Where teams remain tied and/or have not played each other in the competition (i.e. are from different pools)
- The club with the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage.
- If equal, the club that scored the most tries in the pool stage.
- If equal, the club with the fewest players suspended in the pool stage.
- If equal, the drawing of lots will determine a club's ranking.
|Winner of each pool, advance to quarter-finals.|
|Three second-place teams with the highest number of points advance to quarter-finals.|
|Glasgow Warriors (8)||6||4||0||2||147||119||28||19||16||3||0||19|
|Racing 92 (2)||6||5||0||1||196||121||75||26||15||5||1||26|
Ranking of pool leaders and runners-upEdit
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 28–31 March 2019. 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 were played on the weekend of 19–21 April 2019. As in recent seasons, a fixed semi-final bracket was set in advance. Beginning this season, the higher-seeded team received home country/venue advantage for each semi-final, regardless of whether they won their quarter-final at home or on the road. Also new for this season was the EPRC's use of discretion to allow semi-finals to be played at a qualified club's home venue.
The winners of the semi-finals contested the final, at St James' Park, on 11 May 2019.
|Edinburgh (4)||13–17||(5) Munster|
|Try: Dean 26' c
Con: Van der Walt (1/1) 27'
Pen: Van der Walt (2/2) 35', 50'
|Report||Try: Earls (2) 18' c, 70' c|
Con: Carbery (1/1) 19'
Bleyendaal (1/1) 71'
Pen: Bleyendaal (1/1) 46'
|Saracens (1)||56–27||(8) Glasgow Warriors|
|Try: Williams (2) 4' c, 48' c
Strettle (2) 25' m, 56' c
Barritt 29' c
George 62' c
Tompkins 70' c
Con: Lozowski (6/7) 5', 30', 49', 57', 63', 71'
Pen: Lozowski (3/3) 14', 42', 54'
|Report||Try: Price 1' c|
G. Horne 66' c
M. Fagerson 80' c
Con: Hastings (3/3) 2', 67', 80'+2
Pen: Hastings (2/2) 32', 37'
|Leinster (3)||21–18||(6) Ulster|
|Try: R. Byrne 10' m
A. Byrne 53' c
Con: R. Byrne (1/2) 54'
Pen: R. Byrne (3/4) 30', 34', 71'
|Report||Try: Treadwell 5' c|
Marshall 63' m
Con: Cooney (1/2) 6'
Pen: Cooney (2/2) 21', 38'
|Racing 92 (2)||21–22||(7) Toulouse|
|Try: Thomas 18' c
Chat 73' m
Con: Machenaud (1/2) 19'
Pen: Machenaud (3/4) 13', 48', 54'
|Report||Try: Dupont (2) 6' c, 35' c|
Médard 30' m
Con: Holmes (1/1) 7'
Ntamack (1/2) 36'
Pen: Ramos (1/1) 67'
|Saracens (1)||32–16||(5) Munster|
|Try: Rhodes 42' c
B. Vunipola 72' c
Con: Farrell (2/2) 43', 73'
Pen: Farrell (6/7) 1', 17', 26', 40' , 47', 53'
|Report||Try: Sweetnam 60' c|
Con: Hanrahan (1/1) 62' c
Pen: Bleyendaal (2/2) 9', 30'
Murray (1/1) 36'
|Leinster (3)||30–12||(7) Toulouse|
|Try: Lowe 13' c
McGrath 25' c
Fardy 52' c
Con: Sexton (3/3) 14', 27', 54'
Pen: Sexton (2/2) 10', 65'
R. Byrne (1/1) 77'
|Report||Pen: Thomas Ramos (3/3) 5', 30', 44'|
Ntamack (1/1) 59'
- Does not include the attendance at the final as it takes place at a neutral venue.
- Appearance figures also include coming on as substitutes (unused substitutes not included).
52–3 Leinster at home to Wasps on 12 October 2018
41–15 Munster away to Gloucester on 11 January 2019
56–27 Saracens at home to Glasgow Warriors on 30 March 2019
Leinster at home to Wasps on 12 October 2018
Leinster at home to Wasps on 12 October 2018
Saracens at home to Munster on 20 April 2019
Castres at home to Exeter Chiefs on 20 October 2018
Joey Carbery for Munster at away to Gloucester on 11 January 2019
Alex Lozowski for Saracens at home to Glasgow Warriors on 30 March 2019
Owen Farrell for Saracens at home to Munster on 20 April 2019
Saracens versus Leinster on 11 May 2019 (Final)
Newcastle Falcons at home to Montpellier on 21 October 2018
- Cardiff qualified as Third in Conference A of the Pro14, the Cheetahs, were ineligible for European Rugby Competitions.
- Gloucester qualified as Challenge Cup winners Cardiff qualified via the Pro14.
- Thomond Park's official capacity is 25,600 but can be expanded up to 26,276 with temporary seating.
- Allianz Park typically has a capacity of 10,000 but this can be raised to 15,000 with temporary seating.
- Ulster, as 4th eligible team in Conference B, beat the 4th eligible team in Conference A, the Ospreys, for the 7th qualification position from the Pro14.
- Saracens attendance figures include semi-final 'home game' played at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
- "Heineken® Returns as Headline Sponsor of European Rugby Champions Cup". Heineken. 4 June 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-05-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- the winner of both European competitions from last year, Leinster and Cardiff Blues having already qualified through a top 6 finish in the Pro14
- http://archive.ercrugby.com/news/28791.php Archived 2014-08-13 at the Wayback Machine ERCRugby.com. Accessed 8 June 2014
- "2018/19 Pool Draws produce top-quality fixtures". epcrugby.com. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
- "Champions Cup Rules". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
- "Pool Tables". Heineken Champions Cup. EPCR. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
- "Pool Tables". Heineken Champions Cup. EPCR. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Pool Tables". Heineken Champions Cup. EPCR. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "Pool Tables". Heineken Champions Cup. EPCR. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
- "Pool Tables". Heineken Champions Cup. EPCR. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- "Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals". EPCR. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
- "Heineken Champions Cup semi-final venues". EPCR. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- "Heineken Champions Cup semi-final details". EPCR. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Home attendance". Rugby Statbunker. 21 April 2019.
- "Player Statistics". EPCR. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most points in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most tries in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most conversions in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most penalties in a match (Team)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most points in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most tries in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most conversions in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.
- "European Rugby Champions Cup 18/19 Most penalties in a match (Player)". Rugby Statbunker. 11 May 2019.