EPCR pool draws for 2024-25 season

Rob LloydNews

As previously announced, the pool draws for the 2024/25 Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup tournaments will be staged in Cardiff on Tuesday, July 2.

Both draws will be streamed live on epcrugby.com and the event, which will be co-presented by Sarra Elgan and Vincent Pochulu, will start at 11.00 (UK-Irish time) / 12.00 (South African-Italian time) / 14.00 (Georgian time) with the draw for the EPCR Challenge Cup pools, and the Investec Champions Cup draw will follow at approximately 11.20 / 12.20 / 14.20.

Scarlets, along with Dragons, Cardiff and Ospreys will be in the EPCR Challenge Cup, which will once again have 18 clubs – eight from the URC, six from the TOP 14, two from the Gallagher Premiership and two invited clubs, Black Lion from Georgia and the Toyota Cheetahs from South Africa – competing in three pools of six, Pool 1, Pool 2 and Pool 3. (See all clubs below)

The following are the key principles integral to the EPCR Challenge Cup draw:

  • Each pool of six will contain two TOP 14 clubs.
  • As the draw will include four Welsh clubs – Ospreys, Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets and Dragons RFC – one pool will have two Welsh representatives.
  • Edinburgh Rugby and Zebre Parma, who are from the same URC Shield, cannot be in the same pool. For the purposes of the draw, they will be grouped with the Welsh clubs.
  • A maximum of three URC clubs can be included in the same pool.
  • For the purposes of the draw, the two Premiership qualifiers, Gloucester Rugby and the Newcastle Falcons, as well as Connacht Rugby from Ireland, cannot be in the same pool.
  • The Emirates Lions, as well as the two invited clubs, Black Lion and the Toyota Cheetahs, cannot be in the same pool.
  • Only two of the following clubs can be included in the same pool: Ospreys, Emirates Lions, Edinburgh Rugby and Scarlets.
  • Clubs will play four different opponents home or away during the pool stage and a limited number of same-league fixtures will be unavoidable.

To start the process, all 18 club balls will be placed in the drum, and any three balls will be drawn separately with the first club out of the drum going into Pool 1, the second club out of the drum going into Pool 2 and the third club out of the drum going into Pool 3.

The draw will then continue on an ‘open’ basis with the next club out of the drum going into Pool 1, the following club out of the drum going into Pool 2, and so on in ascending numerical order until all club balls are drawn or allocated provided that the key principles are adhered to.

If a club cannot be drawn into a pool in accordance with the key principles, then the club will be allocated to the next available pool. The process will then re-start at the pool into which the initial club could not be drawn.

The 2024/25 fixture schedules for both tournaments with dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage will be announced as soon as possible. Fixtures will be determined using an algorithm which will take into consideration league calendar restrictions, individual club calendar restrictions, broadcast requirements and the pool draws.


United Rugby Championship: Ospreys, Emirates Lions, Edinburgh Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets, Dragons RFC, Zebre Parma

TOP 14: Section Paloise, USAP, Lyon Olympique Universitaire, Aviron Bayonnais, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, RC Vannes

Gallagher Premiership: Gloucester Rugby, Newcastle Falcons

Invited: Black Lion, Toyota Cheetahs

2024/25 weekends

Round 1 – 6/7/8 December

Round 2 – 13/14/15 December

Round 3 – 10/11/12 January 2025

Round 4 – 17/18/19 January 2025

Round of 16 – 4/5/6 April 2025

Quarter-finals – 11/12/13 April 2025

Semi-finals – 2/3/4 May 2025

2025 EPCR Challenge Cup final – Principality Stadium, Cardiff; Friday, May 23

2025 Investec Champions Cup final – Principality Stadium, Cardiff; Saturday, May 24