According to RMC and L’Equipe, the Champions Cup will take place the same way next season as this season, that is to say with 24 clubs and two pools of twelve.
Due to the health and economic crisis, the EPCR had decided to qualify 24 teams for the Champions Cup this season, against 20 in normal times. These teams were then divided into two pools of twelve, with eighths, quarters, semis and a final. This formula will be repeated next season by the EPCR, according to information from RMC and of The team. As in 2020, eight Top 14, eight Premiership and eight Pro 14 teams will therefore qualify.
Apart from Agen, already relegated to Pro D2 with six games left to play, all French teams can therefore still mathematically dream of finishing in the Top 8 and therefore to play the biggest European competition next season. Unless Montpellier wins the Challenge Cup (the MHR plays its semi-final on Saturday in Bath), which will automatically qualify the Hérault for the next Champions Cup. The other teams would then have to finish in the Top 7.
What about the South African Pro 14 teams?
For the Challenge Cup, if the formula remains the same, then six French clubs, four English clubs, two Italian clubs and two Welsh clubs will qualify for the group stage in 2021-22, and eight Champions Cup teams will be relegated to the Challenge Cup at the end of the group stage. There is still one important detail to settle.
Will the four South African franchises which will integrate the Pro 14 next season (Sharks, Bulls, Lions and Stormers) be able to play this Champions Cup 2021-22? It is the Irish, Italian, Welsh and Scottish leaders of the Pro 14 who will decide soon. Hoping that the next Champions Cup can take place with the number of matches planned, and that two days of the group stage should not be canceled like this year because of the English variant…