Munster could be drawn as top Champions Cup seeds

Ulster could find themselves with tier one or two status while Leinster will be third seeds

Munster could be drawn as top seeds for next year’s European Champions Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Munster could be drawn as top seeds for next year’s European Champions Cup. Photograph: Inpho

 

Munster could find themselves as top seeds in next season’s European Champions Cup when the pool draw for the tournament is made in Switzerland next Wednesday.

Being top seeds doesn’t guarantee an easier route to the knock out stages however, with both of last year’s finalists, winners Toulon and Clermont Auvergne, potentially starting as second seeds.

For the pool stages the 20 sides in the competition are ranked into four tiers which are decided on performance in last season’s domestic competitions, before being drawn into five groups.

This means Pro 12 winners Glasgow, Premiership winners Saracens and the winners of Saturday’s Top 14 final between Clermont and Stade Francais are guaranteed top tier status.

Second Captains

The final two top tier clubs will then be drawn, meaning two of Munster, Bath and the Top 14 runner-up will be named top seeds.

The side not drawn into the top tier will then go into the second, alongside the Ospreys, Northampton Saints and three-in-a-row champions Toulon.

The fourth ranked side from the same league as the team who drop into tier two will also be in tier two, meaning Ulster could be ranked alongsideMunster.

If Munster get a tier one seeding however Ulster will drop into the third tier, alongside managerless Leinster.

Tier four is the only one which is currently finalised and currently contains Wasps, Oyonnax, Scarlets, Bennetton Treviso and Bordeaux-Bègles.

Regardless of their ultimate seedings, Munster, Leinster and Ulster can’t face each other in the pool stages.

The Challenge Cup draw will also be made next Wednesday, with Pat Lam’s Connacht ranked top seeds along with Montpellier and Sale Sharks.

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