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European Rugby Cup Ltd (or ERC) was the governing body and organiser of the two major European rugby union club tournaments; the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.[1] It was replaced by the European Professional Club Rugby governing body in 2014.

European Rugby Cup
European Rugby Cup logo.svg
SportRugby union
ChairmanJean-Pierre Lux
Chief ExecDerek McGrath
Closure date2014

The inaugural Heineken Cup competition was held in 1995–96, with the second tier competition established the following season.



The organisation was established in 1995, in preparation for the 1995–96 season, and was headquartered in Dublin. ERC's had nine major shareholders: the six tier 1 unions and three club associations, which were all represented on the board of directors:

Club associations

In 2012, Premiership Rugby and LNR, on behalf of the English and French clubs respectively, notified ERC that they would be withdrawing from the accord governing the competition, being dissatisfied with the organisation of the competition and the distribution of funding. Premiership Rugby subsequently refused to join any new agreement in which ERC remained organisers of European rugby tournaments.

On 10 April 2014 it was announced that the nine shareholders with an interest in continuing major European club competition had come to an agreement for new competitions. Under the new agreement, ERC was wound up, and a new body, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), would be created to organise three new competitions, European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup, and the third tier Qualifying Competition, beginning with the 2014–15 season.[2]

ERC GovernanceEdit

The Board of ERC, which oversaw the implementation of ERC's strategy for the development of European club rugby, was made up of representatives of the six shareholder unions, league bodies and club representatives and shaped the strategy and development of ERC and the tournaments.

Reporting to and making recommendation the Board were a series of ERC Committees, focusing on the various roles of ERC as a Governing Body and Tournament Organiser and these drew on the experience and expertise of the clubs and Unions from each participation nation.

ERC Committee Structure: – ERC Commercial Committee – ERC Rugby Committee – ERC Match Officials Committee – ERC Disciplinary Committee – ERC Finance and Audit Committee

The ERC Executive and team of 20 employees was based in the Dublin headquarters and were charged with implementing the strategy for the development of European club rugby and management of the two tournaments and of the showpiece ERC Finals weekend.

ERC European Player of the YearEdit

Recognised as one of the most prestigious individual accolades in the game, the ERC European Player of the Year honourrd the best player of the European club rugby season from both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments.

In 2010 ERC launched the ERC15 Awards, recognising the outstanding contributors to the first decade and a half of European competition. The inaugural recipient of the ERC European Player Award, as the best player over the first 15 years of these tournaments, was Munster Rugby's Ronan O'Gara. For the 2010/11 season, ERC moved to present an annual award.

On 26 May 2014, it was announced that Steffon Armitage (Toulon) had been named 2014 ERC European Player of the Year.[3][4]

Winners: [5]
Ronan O'Gara (Munster Rugby) – 2010 (Awarded for the previous 15 seasons)
Seán O'Brien (Leinster Rugby) 2011
Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby) 2012
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon) 2013
Steffon Armitage (Toulon) 2014
Nick Abendanon (Clermont) 2015

ERC Elite AwardsEdit

To celebrate the 10th anniversary season of the Heineken Cup, the ERC Elite Awards scheme was introduced to recognise the most prominent teams and players of the competitions.

Teams with 50 or more appearancesEdit

Team[6] Appearances
  Munster 138
  Leinster 128
  Leicester Tigers 124
  Scarlets[n 1] 117
  Cardiff Blues[n 2] 114
  Edinburgh 103
  Benetton 96
  Biarritz Olympique 92
  Glasgow Warriors 91
  Northampton Saints 83
  Perpignan 81
  Stade Français 79
  London Wasps 78
  Montferrand/Clermont Auvergne 76
  Bath 72
  Ospreys 69
  Harlequins 68
  Castres Olympique 64
  Saracens 56
  1. ^ Includes 48 appearances as Llanelli RFC before the
    introduction of regional rugby union teams in Wales
  2. ^ Includes 44 appearances as Cardiff RFC before the
    introduction of regional rugby union teams in Wales

Players with 100 or more Heineken Cup capsEdit

Player[7] Club(s) Appearances
  Ronan O'Gara Munster 110
  John Hayes Munster 101
  Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath 100

Players with 50 or more Heineken Cup capsEdit

Player[8] Club(s) Appearances
  Ronan O'Gara Munster 110
  John Hayes Munster 101
  Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath 100
  Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 98
  Donncha O'Callaghan Munster 96
  Leo Cullen Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster (2nd stint) 92
  Shane Horgan Leinster 87
  Brian O'Driscoll Leinster
  Clément Poitrenaud Toulouse
  Anthony Foley Munster 86
  David Wallace Munster
  Nathan Hines Edinburgh, Perpignan, Leinster, Clermont Auvergne 85
  Jean Bouilhou Toulouse 84
  Marcus Horan Munster
  Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets (2nd stint)
  Fabien Pelous Dax, Toulouse 81
  Martyn Williams Pontypridd, Cardiff, Cardiff Blues
  Yannick Jauzion Colomiers, Toulouse 79
  Alan Quinlan Munster 78
  Sylvain Marconnet Stade Français, Biarritz 76
  Paul O'Connell Munster
  Julien Peyrelongue Biarritz 75
  Ian Gough Pontypridd, Newport, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys 74
  Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers
  Malcolm O'Kelly Leinster
  Jean-Baptiste Poux Toulouse
  William Servat Toulouse
  Vincent Clerc Toulouse 73
  Allan Jacobsen Edinburgh 72
  Martin Castrogiovanni Calvisano, Leicester Tigers 71
  Cédric Heymans Brive, Toulouse
  Shane Jennings Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster (2nd stint)
  Jérôme Thion Montferrand, Perpignan, Biarritz
  Vernon Cooper Llanelli, Scarlets 70
  Florian Fritz Bourgoin, Toulouse
  Simon Shaw London Wasps
  Martin Corry Leicester Tigers 69
  Louis Deacon Leicester Tigers 68
  Girvan Dempsey Leinster
  George Chuter Saracens, Leicester Tigers 67
  John Kelly Munster
  Grégory Lamboley Toulouse
  Nicolas Mas Perpignan
  Chris Paterson Edinburgh, Gloucester, Edinburgh (2nd stint)
  Jamie Heaslip Leinster 66
  Adam Jones Neath, Ospreys
  Duncan Jones Neath, Ospreys
  Eoin Reddan Munster, London Wasps, Leinster
  David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne
  Chris Wyatt Llanelli, Scarlets, Bourgoin
  Ben Kay Leicester Tigers 65
  Julien Bonnaire Bourgoin, Clermont Auvergne 64
  Yannick Bru Toulouse
  Nicolas Brusque Pau, Biarritz
  Romain Millo-Chluski Toulouse
  Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz 63
  Benoît August Stade Français, Biarritz 62
  Mick O'Driscoll Munster, Perpignan, Munster (2nd stint)
  Iestyn Thomas Ebbw Vale, Llanelli, Scarlets
  Shane Byrne Leinster, Saracens 61
  Reggie Corrigan Leinster
  Thierry Dusautoir Biarritz, Toulouse
  Dougie Hall Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors 60
  Dafydd James Pontypridd, Llanelli, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues
  Gethin Jenkins Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues
  Benjamin Kayser Stade Français, Leicester Tigers, Stade Français (2nd stint), Castres Olympique, Clermont Auvergne
  Christian Labit Toulouse, Northampton Saints
  Gareth Thomas Cardiff, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Toulouse, Cardiff Blues
  Andrew Trimble Ulster
  Iain Balshaw Bath, Gloucester, Biarritz 59
  Steve Borthwick Bath, Saracens
  Frederic Michalak Toulouse, Toulon
  Lewis Moody Leicester Tigers, Bath
  Graham Rowntree Leicester Tigers
  Perry Freshwater Leicester Tigers, Perpignan 58
  Salvatore Perugini L'Aquila, Calvisano, Toulouse, Aironi
  Trevor Brennan Leinster, Toulouse 57
  Victor Costello Leinster
  Justin Fitzpatrick Ulster, Castres Olympique, Ulster (2nd stint)
  David Humphreys Ulster
  Jonathan Thomas Swansea, Ospreys
  Shane Williams Neath, Ospreys
  Roger Wilson Ulster, Northampton Saints, Ulster (2nd stint)
  Joe Worsley London Wasps
  Philippe Bidabé Biarritz 56
  Simon Easterby Llanelli, Scarlets
  Anthony Horgan Munster
  Gavin Thomas Bath, Ospreys, Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons
  David Auradou Stade Français 55
  Serge Betsen Biarritz, London Wasps
  Tommy Bowe Ulster, Ospreys, Ulster (2nd stint)
  Robin McBryde Llanelli, Scarlets
  Yannick Nyanga Béziers, Toulouse
  Shaun Payne Swansea, Munster
  Frankie Sheahan Munster
  Damien Traille Pau, Biarritz
  Garan Evans Llanelli, Scarlets 54
  Denis Hickie Leinster
  Benoît Lecouls Toulouse, Biarritz, Toulouse (2nd stint)
  Tom Voyce Bath, London Wasps, Gloucester
  Paddy Wallace Ulster
  Jason White Glasgow, Sale Sharks, Clermont Auvergne
  Isaac Boss Ulster, Leinster 53
  Lawrence Dallaglio London Wasps
  Austin Healey Leicester Tigers
  Alex King London Wasps, Clermont
  Leon Lloyd Leicester Tigers, Gloucester
  Mauro Bergamasco Petrarca, Benetton Treviso, Stade Français, Aironi
  Kelly Brown Borders, Glasgow Warriors, Saracens
  Pieter de Villiers Stade Français
  Vincent Debaty Perpignan, Clermont Auvergne
  Imanol Harinordoquy Pau, Biarritz Olympique
  Deiniol Jones Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues
  Rob Kearney Leinster
  Eric Miller Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Ulster, Leinster (2nd stint)
  Aurélien Rougerie Clermont Auvergne
  Rimas Álvarez Kairelis Perpignan 51
  Peter Buxton Newport, Gloucester
  Lee Byrne Scarlets, Ospreys, Clermont Auvergne
  Ben Cohen Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks
  John Davies Neath, Llanelli, Scarlets
  Martin Johnson Leicester Tigers
  Al Kellock Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors
  Scott Murray Saracens, Edinburgh, Montauban, Castres Olympique
  Brendan Williams Petrarca, Benetton Treviso
  Nicolas Durand Béziers, Perpignan, Racing Métro 92, Toulon, Perpignan (2nd stint) 50
  Ross Ford Borders, Edinburgh
  Gary Longwell Ulster
  Sonny Parker Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors, Ospreys
  Julien Pierre Bourgoin, Clermont Auvergne
  Matthew Rees Celtic Warriors, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues

Players with 500 or more Heineken Cup pointsEdit

Player[9] Club(s) Points
  Ronan O'Gara Munster 1,365
  Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets (2nd stint) 869
  Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz 661
    Diego Domínguez Milan, Stade Français 645
  David Humphreys Ulster 564
  Neil Jenkins Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors 502
  David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne 500

Players with 25 or more Heineken Cup triesEdit

Player[10] Club(s) Tries
  Vincent Clerc Toulouse 35
  Brian O'Driscoll Leinster 33
  Dafydd James Pontypridd, Llanelli, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues 29
  Shane Horgan Leinster 27
  Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 26
  Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers 25


  1. ^ Official site ERC Rugby Homepage at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 April 2006)
  2. ^ European Rugby Statement, The Rugby Paper, 10/4/14
  3. ^ "Steffon Armitage named ERC European Player of the Year". BBC. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Steffon Armitage of Heineken Cup champions, RC Toulon, has been named ERC European Player of the Year 2014". ERC. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  5. ^ ERC. "Official tournaments website".
  6. ^ "Team Awards: 50 Heineken Cup Matches". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Player Awards: 100 Heineken Cup Caps". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Player Awards: 50 Heineken Cup Caps". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Player Awards: 500 Heineken Cup Points". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Player Awards: 25 Heineken Cup Tries". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.