‘I’m still trying to get my head round how it actually works’ - Richard Cockerill tries to fathom out Champions Cup's new format

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill admits he has been left bamboozled by the Heineken Champions Cup’s new format.

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill is still trying to get his head around the Champions Cup's new format. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill is still trying to get his head around the Champions Cup's new format. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The capital side kick off their campaign this evening with a home match against La Rochelle. It is one of only four pool matches they will play as they seek to qualify for the knockout stages.

Cockerill is delighted to return to the elite tier of the European game but is still trying to plot a way through the convoluted set-up.

“It’s probably the biggest tournament in the world, it’s the best of the best, and we’re dining at the top table again,” he said. “We look forward to playing La Rochelle tomorrow and Sale next week.

“I’m still trying to get my head round how the pool actually works and how you qualify, but I’m sure somebody will tell me at some point. It’s just good for our guys to be playing at this level.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The organisers describe it as a “new and dynamic format” which reduces the number of matches in a season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24 clubs (the top eight from the Pro14, Top 14 and English Premiership) are divided into two pools of 12 but each will play just two other teams, home and away.

Edinburgh will take on La Rochelle and Sale, while Glasgow will face Exeter and Lyon.

The clubs have been separated into tiers, and clubs from the same league in the same tier cannot be in the same pool. The No 1 and No 2 ranked clubs from each league were in Tier 1, the No 3 and No 4 ranked clubs in Tier 2, the No 5 and No 6 ranked clubs in Tier 3, and the No 7 and No 8 ranked clubs in Tier 4.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs were drawn in the same pool, as were Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs.

The four highest-ranked clubs in each pool will qualify for the quarter-finals, and the clubs ranked numbers 5 to 8 in each pool will compete in the knockout stage of the second-tier Challenge Cup.

The quarter-finals will be played on a home and away basis; the semis and the final will be one-off games, with the latter taking place in Marseille on May 22.

A message from the Editor:

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.