With three Heineken Cup teams qualifying for the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals from next season. ercrugby.com got the calculator out to see how that would have worked in previous seasons.
From next season only the five Pool winners from the European Challenge Cup will qualify for the quarter-finals. They will be joined by the three Heineken Cup Pool runners up ranked third, fourth and fifth after the two best placed Heineken Cup runners-up who qualify for the Heineken Cup quarters-finals.
The quarter-final line-up will be as follows:
1 ECC 1 (Top ranked ECC Pool winner)
2 ECC 2 (Second ranked ECC Pool winner)
3 ECC 3 (Third ranked ECC Pool winner)
4 ECC 4 (Fourth ranked ECC Pool winner)
5 Heineken Cup 1
6 Heineken Cup 2
7 Heineken Cup 3
8 ECC 5 (Fifth Ranked ECC Pool winner)
1 (ECC 1) v 8 (ECC 5)
2 (ECC 2) v 7 (Heineken Cup 3)
3 (ECC 3) v 6 (Heineken Cup 2)
4 (ECC 4) v 5 (Heineken Cup 1)
Taking this format and applying it to the 2008/09 season and the Challenge Cup quarter-finals would have looked like this:
ECC 1 - London Irish (Pool 1 winner)
ECC 2 - Northampton Saints (Pool 2 winner)
ECC 3 - Saracens (Pool 5 winner)
ECC 4 - Worcester Warriors (Pool 3 winner)
Heineken Cup 1 - London Wasps (Pool 2 runner-up)
Heineken Cup 2 - Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque (Pool 6 runner-up)
Heineken Cup 3 - Sale Sharks (Pool 1 runner-up) ECC 5 - Brive (Pool 4 winner)
The alternative European Challenge Cup Quarter-finals 2008/09 - under new format
London Irish v Brive
Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks
Saracens v Biarritz
Worcester Warriors v London Wasps
Taking this format and applying it to the 2007/08 season and the Challenge Cup quarter-finals would have looked like this:
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.