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European Rugby Cup

European Rugby Cup
European Rugby Cup logo.svg
SportRugby union
ChairmanJean-Pierre Lux
CEODerek McGrath
Closure date2014

European Rugby Cup Ltd (or ERC) was the governing body and organiser of the two major European rugby union club tournaments; the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.[1] It was replaced by the European Professional Club Rugby governing body in 2014.

The inaugural Heineken Cup competition was held in 1995–96, with the second tier competition established the following season.


The organisation was established in 1995, in preparation for the 1995–96 season, and was headquartered in Dublin. ERC's had nine major shareholders: the six tier 1 unions and three club associations, which were all represented on the board of directors:

Club associations

In 2012, Premiership Rugby and LNR, on behalf of the English and French clubs respectively, notified ERC that they would be withdrawing from the accord governing the competition, being dissatisfied with the organisation of the competition and the distribution of funding. Premiership Rugby subsequently refused to join any new agreement in which ERC remained organisers of European rugby tournaments.

On 10 April 2014 it was announced that the nine shareholders with an interest in continuing major European club competition had come to an agreement for new competitions. Under the new agreement, ERC was wound up, and a new body, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), would be created to organise three new competitions, European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup, and the third tier Qualifying Competition, beginning with the 2014–15 season.[2]

ERC Governance

The Board of ERC, which oversaw the implementation of ERC's strategy for the development of European club rugby, was made up of representatives of the six shareholder unions, league bodies and club representatives and shaped the strategy and development of ERC and the tournaments.

Reporting to and making recommendation the Board were a series of ERC Committees, focusing on the various roles of ERC as a Governing Body and Tournament Organiser and these drew on the experience and expertise of the clubs and Unions from each participation nation.

ERC Committee Structure: – ERC Commercial Committee – ERC Rugby Committee – ERC Match Officials Committee – ERC Disciplinary Committee – ERC Finance and Audit Committee

The ERC Executive and team of 20 employees was based in the Dublin headquarters and were charged with implementing the strategy for the development of European club rugby and management of the two tournaments and of the showpiece ERC Finals weekend.

ERC European Player of the Year

Recognised as one of the most prestigious individual accolades in the game, the ERC European Player of the Year honourrd the best player of the European club rugby season from both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments.

In 2010 ERC launched the ERC15 Awards, recognising the outstanding contributors to the first decade and a half of European competition. The inaugural recipient of the ERC European Player Award, as the best player over the first 15 years of these tournaments, was Munster Rugby's Ronan O'Gara. For the 2010/11 season, ERC moved to present an annual award.

On 26 May 2014, it was announced that Steffon Armitage (Toulon) had been named 2014 ERC European Player of the Year.[3][4]

Winners: [5]
Ronan O'Gara (Munster Rugby) – 2010 (Awarded for the previous 15 seasons)
Seán O'Brien (Leinster Rugby) 2011
Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby) 2012
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon) 2013
Steffon Armitage (Toulon) 2014
Nick Abendanon (Clermont) 2015

ERC Elite Awards

To celebrate the 10th anniversary season of the Heineken Cup, the ERC Elite Awards scheme was introduced to recognise the most prominent teams and players of the competitions.

Teams with 50 or more appearances

Team[6] Appearances
Ireland Munster 138
France Toulouse
Ireland Leinster 128
England Leicester Tigers 124
Wales Scarlets[n 1] 117
Ireland Ulster
Wales Cardiff Blues[n 2] 114
Scotland Edinburgh 103
Italy Benetton 96
France Biarritz Olympique 92
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 91
England Northampton Saints 83
France Perpignan 81
France Stade Français 79
England London Wasps 78
France Montferrand/Clermont Auvergne 76
England Bath 72
Wales Ospreys 69
England Harlequins 68
France Castres Olympique 64
England Gloucester
England Saracens 56
  1. ^ Includes 48 appearances as Llanelli RFC before the
    introduction of regional rugby union teams in Wales
  2. ^ Includes 44 appearances as Cardiff RFC before the
    introduction of regional rugby union teams in Wales

Players with 100 or more Heineken Cup caps

Player[7] Club(s) Appearances
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 110
Ireland John Hayes Munster 101
Ireland Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath 100

Players with 50 or more Heineken Cup caps

Player[8] Club(s) Appearances
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 110
Ireland John Hayes Munster 101
Ireland Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath 100
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 98
Ireland Donncha O'Callaghan Munster 96
Ireland Leo Cullen Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster (2nd stint) 92
Ireland Shane Horgan Leinster 87
Ireland Brian O'Driscoll Leinster
France Clément Poitrenaud Toulouse
Ireland Anthony Foley Munster 86
Ireland David Wallace Munster
Scotland Nathan Hines Edinburgh, Perpignan, Leinster, Clermont Auvergne 85
France Jean Bouilhou Toulouse 84
Ireland Marcus Horan Munster
Wales Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets (2nd stint)
France Fabien Pelous Dax, Toulouse 81
Wales Martyn Williams Pontypridd, Cardiff, Cardiff Blues
France Yannick Jauzion Colomiers, Toulouse 79
Ireland Alan Quinlan Munster 78
France Sylvain Marconnet Stade Français, Biarritz 76
Ireland Paul O'Connell Munster
France Julien Peyrelongue Biarritz 75
Wales Ian Gough Pontypridd, Newport, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys 74
Ireland Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers
Ireland Malcolm O'Kelly Leinster
France Jean-Baptiste Poux Toulouse
France William Servat Toulouse
France Vincent Clerc Toulouse 73
Scotland Allan Jacobsen Edinburgh 72
Italy Martin Castrogiovanni Calvisano, Leicester Tigers 71
France Cédric Heymans Brive, Toulouse
Ireland Shane Jennings Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster (2nd stint)
France Jérôme Thion Montferrand, Perpignan, Biarritz
Wales Vernon Cooper Llanelli, Scarlets 70
France Florian Fritz Bourgoin, Toulouse
England Simon Shaw London Wasps
England Martin Corry Leicester Tigers 69
England Louis Deacon Leicester Tigers 68
Ireland Girvan Dempsey Leinster
England George Chuter Saracens, Leicester Tigers 67
Ireland John Kelly Munster
France Grégory Lamboley Toulouse
France Nicolas Mas Perpignan
Scotland Chris Paterson Edinburgh, Gloucester, Edinburgh (2nd stint)
Ireland Jamie Heaslip Leinster 66
Wales Adam Jones Neath, Ospreys
Wales Duncan Jones Neath, Ospreys
Ireland Eoin Reddan Munster, London Wasps, Leinster
France David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne
Wales Chris Wyatt Llanelli, Scarlets, Bourgoin
England Ben Kay Leicester Tigers 65
France Julien Bonnaire Bourgoin, Clermont Auvergne 64
France Yannick Bru Toulouse
France Nicolas Brusque Pau, Biarritz
France Romain Millo-Chluski Toulouse
France Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz 63
France Benoît August Stade Français, Biarritz 62
Ireland Mick O'Driscoll Munster, Perpignan, Munster (2nd stint)
Wales Iestyn Thomas Ebbw Vale, Llanelli, Scarlets
Ireland Shane Byrne Leinster, Saracens 61
Ireland Reggie Corrigan Leinster
France Thierry Dusautoir Biarritz, Toulouse
Scotland Dougie Hall Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors 60
Wales Dafydd James Pontypridd, Llanelli, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues
Wales Gethin Jenkins Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues
France Benjamin Kayser Stade Français, Leicester Tigers, Stade Français (2nd stint), Castres Olympique, Clermont Auvergne
France Christian Labit Toulouse, Northampton Saints
Wales Gareth Thomas Cardiff, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Toulouse, Cardiff Blues
Ireland Andrew Trimble Ulster
England Iain Balshaw Bath, Gloucester, Biarritz 59
England Steve Borthwick Bath, Saracens
France Frederic Michalak Toulouse, Toulon
England Lewis Moody Leicester Tigers, Bath
England Graham Rowntree Leicester Tigers
England Perry Freshwater Leicester Tigers, Perpignan 58
Italy Salvatore Perugini L'Aquila, Calvisano, Toulouse, Aironi
Ireland Trevor Brennan Leinster, Toulouse 57
Ireland Victor Costello Leinster
Ireland Justin Fitzpatrick Ulster, Castres Olympique, Ulster (2nd stint)
Ireland David Humphreys Ulster
Wales Jonathan Thomas Swansea, Ospreys
Wales Shane Williams Neath, Ospreys
Ireland Roger Wilson Ulster, Northampton Saints, Ulster (2nd stint)
England Joe Worsley London Wasps
France Philippe Bidabé Biarritz 56
Ireland Simon Easterby Llanelli, Scarlets
Ireland Anthony Horgan Munster
Wales Gavin Thomas Bath, Ospreys, Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons
France David Auradou Stade Français 55
France Serge Betsen Biarritz, London Wasps
Ireland Tommy Bowe Ulster, Ospreys, Ulster (2nd stint)
Wales Robin McBryde Llanelli, Scarlets
France Yannick Nyanga Béziers, Toulouse
South Africa Shaun Payne Swansea, Munster
Ireland Frankie Sheahan Munster
France Damien Traille Pau, Biarritz
Wales Garan Evans Llanelli, Scarlets 54
Ireland Denis Hickie Leinster
France Benoît Lecouls Toulouse, Biarritz, Toulouse (2nd stint)
England Tom Voyce Bath, London Wasps, Gloucester
Ireland Paddy Wallace Ulster
Scotland Jason White Glasgow, Sale Sharks, Clermont Auvergne
Ireland Isaac Boss Ulster, Leinster 53
England Lawrence Dallaglio London Wasps
England Austin Healey Leicester Tigers
England Alex King London Wasps, Clermont
England Leon Lloyd Leicester Tigers, Gloucester
Italy Mauro Bergamasco Petrarca, Benetton Treviso, Stade Français, Aironi
Scotland Kelly Brown Borders, Glasgow Warriors, Saracens
France Pieter de Villiers Stade Français
France Vincent Debaty Perpignan, Clermont Auvergne
France Imanol Harinordoquy Pau, Biarritz Olympique
Wales Deiniol Jones Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues
Ireland Rob Kearney Leinster
Ireland Eric Miller Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Ulster, Leinster (2nd stint)
France Aurélien Rougerie Clermont Auvergne
Argentina Rimas Álvarez Kairelis Perpignan 51
England Peter Buxton Newport, Gloucester
Wales Lee Byrne Scarlets, Ospreys, Clermont Auvergne
England Ben Cohen Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks
Wales John Davies Neath, Llanelli, Scarlets
England Martin Johnson Leicester Tigers
Scotland Al Kellock Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors
Scotland Scott Murray Saracens, Edinburgh, Montauban, Castres Olympique
Australia Brendan Williams Petrarca, Benetton Treviso
France Nicolas Durand Béziers, Perpignan, Racing Métro 92, Toulon, Perpignan (2nd stint) 50
Scotland Ross Ford Borders, Edinburgh
Ireland Gary Longwell Ulster
Wales Sonny Parker Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors, Ospreys
France Julien Pierre Bourgoin, Clermont Auvergne
Wales Matthew Rees Celtic Warriors, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues

Players with 500 or more Heineken Cup points

Player[9] Club(s) Points
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 1,365
Wales Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets (2nd stint) 869
France Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz 661
Italy Argentina Diego Domínguez Milan, Stade Français 645
Ireland David Humphreys Ulster 564
Wales Neil Jenkins Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors 502
France David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne 500

Players with 25 or more Heineken Cup tries

Player[10] Club(s) Tries
France Vincent Clerc Toulouse 35
Ireland Brian O'Driscoll Leinster 33
Wales Dafydd James Pontypridd, Llanelli, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues 29
Ireland Shane Horgan Leinster 27
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 26
Ireland Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers 25


  1. ^ Official site ERC Rugby Homepage at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 April 2006)
  2. ^ [] European Rugby Statement, The Rugby Paper, 10/4/14
  3. ^ "Steffon Armitage named ERC European Player of the Year". BBC. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Steffon Armitage of Heineken Cup champions, RC Toulon, has been named ERC European Player of the Year 2014". ERC. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  5. ^ ERC. "Official tournaments website".
  6. ^ "Team Awards: 50 Heineken Cup Matches". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Player Awards: 100 Heineken Cup Caps". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Player Awards: 50 Heineken Cup Caps". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Player Awards: 500 Heineken Cup Points". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Player Awards: 25 Heineken Cup Tries". ERC. Retrieved 28 May 2014.