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2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup

2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup
Tournament details
Countries England
 France
 Ireland
 Italy
 Scotland
 Wales
Tournament format(s)Round-robin and Knockout
Date13 November 2015 – 14 May 2016
Tournament statistics
Teams20
Matches played67
Attendance955,647 (14,263 per match)
Tries scored321 (4.79 per match)
Top point scorer(s)Owen Farrell (Saracens)
(127 points)
Top try scorer(s)Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers)
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
(6 tries)
Final
VenueGrand Stade de Lyon, Lyon
ChampionsEngland Saracens (1st title)
Runners-upFrance Racing 92
← 2014–15 (Previous)
(Next) 2016–17 →

The 2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup was the second European Rugby Champions Cup championship (21st overall), the annual rugby union club competition for teams from the top six nations in European rugby. The European Rugby Champions Cup replaced the Heineken Cup, which was Europe's top-tier competition for rugby clubs for the first nineteen years of professional European rugby union.[1]

As a result of the 2015 Rugby World Cup being held in England, the tournament started slightly later than in previous seasons, with the opening round taking place on the weekend of 13/14/15 November 2015. The tournament was won for the first time by Saracens who beat Racing 92 in the final on the 14 May 2016, at Parc Olympique Lyonnais (called "Grand Stade de Lyon" by competition organiser European Professional Club Rugby) in the Lyon suburb of Décines.[2] [3][4][5]

Teams

20 clubs, from the three major European domestic leagues, competed in the Champions Cup. Nineteen clubs qualified directly as a result of their domestic league performance, with the final team coming from a play-off.

The distribution of teams was as follows:

  • England: 6 clubs
  • France: 7 clubs
    • The top 6 clubs in the Top 14. (6 clubs)
    • The victory of Bordeaux Bègles in the play-off series against Gloucester gave France a seventh place in the Champions Cup. (1 club)
  • Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales: 7 clubs, based on performance in the Pro12.
    • The best placed club from each nation. (4 clubs)
    • The 3 highest ranked clubs not qualified thereafter. (3 clubs)
Aviva Premiership Top 14 Pro 12
England England France France Ireland Ireland Italy Italy Scotland Scotland Wales Wales

20th team play-off

The following teams took part in play-off matches to decide the final team in the Champions Cup. The play-off was held between Premiership side Gloucester, as Challenge Cup winners, and teams from the Pro12 and Top 14. The losers of this play-off joined the Challenge Cup.

Aviva Premiership Top 14 Pro 12
England England France France Ireland Ireland
Gloucester Bordeaux Bègles Connacht

The play-off was a two-match series, with the winner of the first match, Gloucester, progressing to the second, and the winner of that second match, Bordeaux Bègles, qualifying for the Champions Cup.

24 May 2015
15:30 GMT
Gloucester England 40−32
(a.e.t.)
Ireland Connacht
Report[6]

Team details

Below is the list of coaches, captains and stadiums with their method of qualification for each team.

Note: Placing shown in brackets, denotes standing at the end of the regular season for their respective leagues, with their end of season positioning shown through CH for Champions, RU for Runner-up, SF for losing Semi-finalist and QF for losing Quarter-finalist.

Team Coach /
Director of Rugby
Captain Stadium Capacity Method of Qualification
England Bath England Mike Ford England Stuart Hooper Recreation Ground 13,500 Aviva Premiership top 6 (2nd) (RU)
Italy Benetton Treviso South Africa Marius Goosen
(For Italy Umberto Casellato) [a]
Italy Alessandro Zanni Stadio Comunale di Monigo 6,700 Pro12 top Italian team (11th)
France Bordeaux Bègles France Raphaël Ibañez Australia Matthew Clarkin Stade Chaban-Delmas 34,694 7th Place play-off winner
France Clermont France Franck Azéma France Damien Chouly Stade Marcel-Michelin 18,000 Top 14 top 6 (2nd) (RU)
England Exeter Chiefs England Rob Baxter England Jack Yeandle Sandy Park 12,600 Aviva Premiership top 6 (5th)
Scotland Glasgow Warriors Scotland Gregor Townsend Scotland Jonny Gray Scotstoun Stadium 9,708 Pro12 top Scottish team (1st) (CH)
England Leicester Tigers England Richard Cockerill England Ed Slater Welford Road 24,000 Aviva Premiership top 6 (3rd) (SF)
Ireland Leinster Ireland Leo Cullen Fiji Isa Nacewa RDS Arena
Aviva Stadium
18,500
51,700
Pro12 top 7 (5th)
Ireland Munster Ireland Anthony Foley Ireland CJ Stander[8] Thomond Park 25,600 Pro12 top Irish team (2nd) (RU)
England Northampton Saints England Jim Mallinder England Lee Dickson Franklin's Gardens 13,600 Aviva Premiership top 6 (1st) (SF)
Wales Ospreys Wales Steve Tandy Wales Alun Wyn Jones Liberty Stadium 20,532 Pro12 top Welsh Team (3rd) (SF)
France Oyonnax France Olivier Azam, then

France Johann Authier

France Florian Denos Stade Charles-Mathon 11,400 Top 14 top 6 (6th) (QF)
France Racing 92 France Laurent Labit
France Laurent Travers
France Dimitri Szarzewski Stade Yves-du-Manoir 14,000 Top 14 top 6 (5th) (QF)
England Saracens Ireland Mark McCall South Africa Alistair Hargreaves Allianz Park 10,000 Aviva Premiership top 6 (4th) (CH)
Wales Scarlets New Zealand Wayne Pivac Wales Ken Owens
Wales Scott Williams
Parc y Scarlets 14,870 Pro12 top 7 (6th)
France Stade Français Argentina Gonzalo Quesada Italy Sergio Parisse Stade Jean-Bouin 20,000 Top 14 top 6 (4th) (CH)
France Toulon France Bernard Laporte South Africa Juan Smith
France Jocelino Suta
Stade Mayol 15,400 Top 14 top 6 (1st) (SF)
France Toulouse France Ugo Mola France Thierry Dusautoir Stade Ernest-Wallon
Stadium Municipal
19,500
35,575
Top 14 top 6 (3rd) (SF)
Ireland Ulster Australia Les Kiss Ireland Rory Best Kingspan Stadium 18,196 Pro12 top 7 (4th) (SF)
England Wasps Wales Dai Young England James Haskell
England Matt Mullan
Ricoh Arena 32,609 Aviva Premiership top 6 (6th)

Seeding

In each Champions Cup season, the 20 competing teams are seeded and split into four tiers, each containing 5 teams.

For the purpose of creating the tiers, clubs are ranked based on their domestic league performances and on their qualification for the knockout phases of their championships, so a losing quarter-finalist in the Top 14 would be seeded below a losing semi-finalist, even if they finished above them in the regular season.[9] This represented a change for the Aviva Premiership, which seeded teams for the 2014–15 Champions Cup without reference to their play-off performance, meaning Northampton Saints, which came top in the Aviva Premiership, were seeded third - as the highest ranked losing semi-finalist. As a knock-on from this, Leicester Tigers, which came third in the league, dropped to fourth.

Rank Top 14 Premiership Pro 12
1 France Stade Français England Saracens Scotland Glasgow Warriors
2 France Clermont England Bath Ireland Munster
3 France Toulon England Northampton Saints Wales Ospreys
4 France Toulouse England Leicester Tigers Ireland Ulster
5 France Racing 92 England Exeter Chiefs Ireland Leinster
6 France Oyonnax England Wasps Wales Scarlets
7 France Bordeaux Bègles Italy Benetton Treviso

Based on these seedings, teams are placed into one of the four tiers, with the top seed clubs being put in Tier 1. The nature of the tier system means that a draw is needed to allocate two of the three second seed clubs to Tier 1, the remaining side being put into Tier 2. The draw also determines which fourth seed enters Tier 2, the place being given to the fourth seed from the league of the second seed placed in Tier 2. The other two sides fall into Tier 3.[10]

The tiers are shown below. Brackets show each team's seeding and their league (for example, 1 Top 14 indicates the team was seeded 1st from the Top 14).

Tier 1 England Saracens (1 AP) Scotland Glasgow (1 Pro12) France Stade Français (1 Top 14) France Clermont (2 Top 14) England Bath (2 AP)
Tier 2 Ireland Munster (2 Pro12) England Northampton Saints (3 AP) Wales Ospreys (3 Pro12) France Toulon (3 Top 14) Ireland Ulster (4 Pro12)
Tier 3 France Toulouse (4 Top 14) England Leicester Tigers (4 AP) England Exeter Chiefs (5 AP) Ireland Leinster (5 Pro12) France Racing 92 (5 Top 14)
Tier 4 Wales Scarlets (6 Pro12) England Wasps (6 AP) France Oyonnax (6 Top 14) Italy Benetton Treviso (7 Pro12) France Bordeaux (Play-Off)

The pool draw took place 17 June, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.[10]

The following restrictions applied to the draw:[10]

  • The 5 pools each consisted of four clubs, one from each of the 4 Tiers.
  • Each pool had to have one Aviva Premiership club from Tier 1, 2 or 3, one Top 14 club from Tier 1, 2 or 3, and one Pro12 club from Tier 1, 2 or 3 (with a second Aviva or Top 14 or Pro12 club coming from Tier 4).
  • If there were two PRO12 clubs in the same pool, they had to be from different countries. (This season's competition featured three teams from Ireland, two from Wales, and one each from Scotland and Italy.)

Pool stage

The draw took place on 17 June 2015.[11][12]

Teams played each other twice, both at home and away, in the pool stage, that began on the weekend of 13/14/15 November 2015, and continued through to 22/23/24 January 2016, before the pool winners and three best runners-up progressed to the quarter finals.[11]

Teams were awarded competition points, based on match result. Teams receive 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, 1 attacking bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match and 1 defensive bonus point for losing a match by seven points or fewer.[13]

In the event of a tie between two or more teams, the following tie-breakers were used, as directed by EPCR:

  1. Where teams have played each other
    1. The club with the greater number of competition points from only matches involving tied teams.
    2. If equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from those matches.
    3. If equal, the club that scored the most tries in those matches.
  2. Where teams remain tied and/or have not played each other in the competition (i.e. are from different pools)
    1. The club with the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage.
    2. If equal, the club that scored the most tries in the pool stage.
    3. If equal, the club with the fewest players suspended in the pool stage.
    4. If equal, the drawing of lots will determine a club's ranking.
Key to colours
     Winner of each pool, advanced to quarter-finals.
     Three highest-ranked second-place teams advanced to quarter-finals.

Pool 1

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
England Saracens (1) 6 6 0 0 220 73 +147 26 8 4 0 28
Ireland Ulster 6 4 0 2 169 109 +60 21 12 2 0 18
France Oyonnax 6 1 0 5 99 218 –119 10 30 1 2 7
France Toulouse 6 1 0 5 85 173 –88 11 18 0 1 5

Pool 2

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
England Exeter Chiefs (5) 6 3 0 3 148 151 –3 18 18 3 1 16
France Bordeaux Bègles 6 3 0 3 149 163 –14 18 19 3 1 16
Wales Ospreys 6 3 0 3 138 142 –4 12 16 2 2 16
France Clermont 6 3 0 3 159 138 +21 19 14 3 0 15

Pool 3

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
France Racing 92 (3) 6 4 1 1 174 70 +104 23 6 4 0 22
England Northampton Saints (8) 6 4 1 1 94 93 +1 12 9 1 0 19
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 6 3 0 3 114 96 +18 10 11 1 1 14
Wales Scarlets 6 0 0 6 59 182 –123 7 25 0 2 2

Pool 4

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
England Leicester Tigers (2) 6 5 0 1 185 91 +94 24 11 3 0 23
France Stade Français (7) 6 4 0 2 186 118 +68 25 17 3 0 19
Ireland Munster 6 3 0 3 118 100 +18 15 11 3 0 15
Italy Benetton Treviso 6 0 0 6 53 233 –180 8 33 0 0 0

Pool 5

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
England Wasps (4) 6 4 0 2 186 72 +114 19 8 2 2 20
France Toulon (6) 6 5 0 1 96 91 +5 9 7 0 0 20
England Bath 6 2 0 4 88 131 –43 7 8 0 2 10
Ireland Leinster 6 1 0 5 82 158 –76 5 17 0 2 6

Pool winners & runners-up rankings

Rank Pool Winners Pts TF +/−
1 England Saracens 28 26 +147
2 England Leicester Tigers 23 21 +109
3 France Racing 92 22 23 +104
4 England Wasps 20 19 +114
5 England Exeter Chiefs 16 18 –3
Rank Pool Runners–up Pts TF +/−
6 France Toulon 20 9 +5
7 France Stade Français 19 25 +68
8 England Northampton Saints 19 12 +1
9 Ireland Ulster 18 21 +60
10 France Bordeaux Bègles 16 18 –4

Knock-out stage

Format

The four top teams hosted the quarter-finals against the four lower teams in a 1v8, 2v7, 3v6 and 4v5 format according to their ranking after the pool stages. The quarter-finals were played on the weekend of 8/9/10 April 2016.

The semi-finals were played on the weekend of 23/24 April 2016. In lieu of the draw that previously determined the semi-final pairing, EPCR announced that a fixed semi-final bracket would be set in advance, and that the home team would be designated based on "performances by clubs during the pool stages as well as the achievement of a winning a quarter-final match away from home". Semi-final matches must be played at a neutral ground in the designated home team's country.

Home country advantage was awarded as follows:[13]

The winners of the semi-finals contested the final, at Grand Stade de Lyon, on 14 May 2016.[14]

Quarter-finals

9 April 2016
15:15
Wasps England (4) 25–24 (5) England Exeter Chiefs
Try: Piutau (2) 42' m, 79' c
Halai 64' c
Con: Gopperth (2/3) 65', 80'
Pen: Gopperth (2/3) 6', 17'
Report[15] Try: Waldrom (2) 32' c, 36' c
Williams 48' c
Con: Steenson (3/3) 33', 37', 48'
Pen: Steenson (1/1) 58'
Ricoh Arena
Attendance: 23,866
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)
9 April 2016
17:45
Saracens England (1) 29–20 (8) England Northampton Saints
Try: Ashton 67' c
Wyles 76' c
Con: Farrell (2/2) 68', 77'
Pen: Farrell (5/5) 6', 20', 51', 61', 74'
Report[16] Try: K. Pisi 15' c
Lawes 80' c
Con: Myler (2/2) 17', 80'
Pen: Myler (2/4) 31', 55'
Allianz Park
Attendance: 8,050
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (FFR)
10 April 2016
13:45
Leicester Tigers England (2) 41–13 (7) France Stade Français
Try: Tuilagi 1' c
Goneva (2) 30' c, 44' c
Burns 33' c
Fitzgerald 59' m
Veainu 65' m
Con: Burns (4/4) 2', 31', 34', 46'
Pen: Burns (1/1) 15'
Report[17] Try: Dupuy 42' c
Con: Steyn (1/1) 43'
Pen: Steyn (2/3) 7', 24'
Welford Road
Attendance: 20,866
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
10 April 2016
17:15
Racing 92 France (3) 19–16 (6) France Toulon
Try: Imhoff 2' c
Con: Carter (1/1) 4'
Pen: Carter (1/1) 1'
Machenaud (3/6) 47', 51', 78'
Report[18] Try: Ollivon 8' c
Con: Pélissié (1/1) 10'
Pen:
Pélissié (3/5) 40', 43', 59'
Stade Yves du Manoir
Attendance: 15,340
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)

Semi-finals

23 April 2016
15:00
Saracens England 24–17 England Wasps
Try: Rhodes 28' m
Penalty Try 72' c
Con: Farrell (1/2) 73'
Pen: Farrell (4/6) 40', 42', 46', 68'
Report[19] Try: Robson 1' c
Johnson 75' c
Con: Gopperth (2/2) 2', 76'
Pen: Gopperth (1/1) 41'
Madejski Stadium, Reading
Attendance: 16,820
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)
24 April 2016
15:15
Leicester Tigers England 16–19 France Racing 92
Try: Veainu 79' c
Con: O. Williams (1/1) 79'
Pen: Burns (1/1) 28'
O. Williams (2/2) 38', 44'
Report[20] Try: Machenaud 4' c
Con: Carter (1/1) 4'
Pen: Carter (3/3) 21', 40', 51'
Goosen (1/2) 74'
City Ground, Nottingham
Attendance: 22,148
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

Final

14 May 2016
17:45
Racing 92 France 9–21 England Saracens
Pen: Goosen (3/3) 18', 36', 58'
Report[21] Pen: Farrell (7/7) 10', 25', 32', 39', 51', 76', 79'
Grand Stade de Lyon, Lyon
Attendance: 58,017
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

Attendances

  • Does not include the final as this was played at a neutral venues.
Club Home
Games
Total Average Highest Lowest % Capacity
England Bath 3 39,726 13,242 13,480 12,961 98%
Italy Benetton Treviso 3 10,100 3,367 4,600 2,300 50%
France Bordeaux Bègles 3 65,868 21,956 28,483 17,233 63%
France Clermont 3 49,308 16,436 16,838 15,702 91%
England Exeter Chiefs 3 31,922 10,641 11,415 9,577 87%
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 3 22,439 7,480 9,063 6,576 61%
England Leicester Tigers 5[a 1] 104,021 20,804 22,148 19,076 80%
Ireland Leinster 3 76,285 25,428 44,925 14,569 85%
Ireland Munster 3 58,908 19,636 22,261 17,763 77%
England Northampton Saints 3 44,450 14,817 15,064 14,512 96%
Wales Ospreys 3 26,181 8,727 9,479 7,969 42%
France Oyonnax 3 23,500 7,833 8,800 7,200 69%
France Racing 92 4 39,137 9,784 15,340 6,931 67%
England Saracens 5[a 2] 53,393 10,679 16,820 8,050 87%
Wales Scarlets 3 21,102 7,034 8,512 5,767 47%
France Stade Francais 3 35,678 11,893 13,820 9,785 59%
France Toulon 3 38,706 12,902 13,344 12,590 84%
France Toulouse 3 36,819 12,273 13,852 10,469 63%
Ireland Ulster 3 48,333 16,111 17,209 15,108 89%
England Wasps 4 71,754 17,939 23,866 11,319 55%

[22]

  1. ^ Includes semi-final 'home game' played at the City Ground in Nottingham.
  2. ^ Includes semi-final 'home game' played at the Madejski Stadium in Reading.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Umberto Casellato began the tournament as Benetton Treviso head coach, but was sacked on 5 January 2016, and replaced by Marius Goosen.[7]

References

  1. ^ Inaugural EPCR finals set for London Archived 2014-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Racing 9 Saracens 21: Saracens crowned European champions". Daily Telegraph. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Key 2015/16 EPCR dates and Champions Cup play-offs". epcrugby.com.
  4. ^ "Lyon to host 2016 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals with Edinburgh chosen for 2017". epcrugby.com.
  5. ^ "Farrell boots Saracens to Champions Cup glory". ESPN. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Champions Cup play-off: Gloucester 40-32 Connacht". 24 May 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2017 – via www.bbc.com.
  7. ^ "Treviso and Casellato part ways". Planet Rugby. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  8. ^ "From a South African farm to captaining Munster: The rise of CJ Stander". The42. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2014-06-08. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) ERCRugby.com. Accessed 8 June 2014
  10. ^ a b c European Rugby Pool Draws for 2015/16 season - EPCRugby.com
  11. ^ a b "European heavyweights to clash following 2015/16 Pool Draws". EPCRugby. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Bath and Wasps draw holders Toulon in European Champions Cup pool". Guardian. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Champions Cup Rules". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2015-06-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ "Lyon to host 2016 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals with Edinburgh chosen for 2017". EPCRugby. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  15. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  17. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-05-15. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-07-18. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  19. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-26. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  20. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  21. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR)". epcrugby.com. Archived from the original on 2016-05-30. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  22. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup 15/16 Home attendance". Rugby Statbunker. 10 April 2016.