The 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 elite clubs with eight representatives from the United Rugby Championship (URC) – including historic first appearances by the Stormers, Bulls and Sharks – as well as eight representatives from the Gallagher Premiership and eight from the TOP 14.
The clubs will be divided into two pools of 12 – Pool A and Pool B - and the tournament will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage starting next December when Stade Rochelais begin the defence of their title.
The eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage which will consist of a Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the showpiece final at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on May 20, 2023.
The draw for the Heineken Champions Cup pools, which will be live-streamed from the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday, June 28, will be carried out on the same lines as last season with the clubs separated into four tiers based on their rankings, and clubs from the same league in the same tier will not be drawn into the same pool.
The number 1 and number 2 ranked clubs from each league will be in Tier 1, the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs - which includes Saints - will be in Tier 2, the number 5 and 6 ranked clubs will be in Tier 3, and the number 7 and number 8 ranked clubs will be Tier 4.
The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league, will play one another home and away during the pool stage, as will the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which have been drawn in the same pool, but which are not in the same league.
2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup qualifiers
TOP 14: Castres Olympique, Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Stade Toulousain, 5 Stade Rochelais, 6 Racing 92, 7 ASM Clermont Auvergne, 8 Lyon
Gallagher Premiership: Leicester Tigers, Saracens, 3 Harlequins, 4 Saints, 5 Gloucester Rugby, 6 Sale Sharks, 7 Exeter Chiefs, 8 London Irish
United Rugby Championship: Stormers, Bulls, 3 Leinster Rugby, 4 Ulster Rugby, 5 Sharks, 6 Munster Rugby, 7 Edinburgh Rugby, 8 Ospreys
2022/23 key datesRound 1 – December 9/10/11 2022
Round 2 – December 16/17/18 2022
Round 3 – January 13/14/15 2023
Round 4 – January 20/21/22 2023
Round of 16 – March 31/April 1/2 2023
Quarter-finals – April 7/8/9 2023
Semi-finals – April 28/29/30 2023
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday, May 20 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin