ERC - Driving European Club Rugby Competition

Amlin Challenge Cup
Heineken Cup
Cardiff 2014
Amlin Challenge Cup | Where European Challengers Collide

Where European Challengers Collide

Amlin Challenge Cup Rules

The tournament will be played under the IRB Laws of the Game.

The knockout stage of the Amlin Challenge Cup will include three clubs who qualify through the Heineken Cup.

The introduction of three clubs (the third, fourth and fifth ranked Heineken Cup pool runners-up) will enhance both the quality and profile of the Amlin Challenge Cup knockout matches.

The top four Amlin Challenge Cup pool winners will enjoy home advantage in the quarter-finals with the highest-ranked pool winner playing the fifth ranked, while the other three pool winners will host the Heineken Cup clubs.


1 ACC 1 (Top ranked ACC Pool winner)
2 ACC 2 (Second ranked ACC Pool winner)
3 ACC 3 (Third ranked ACC Pool winner)
4 ACC 4 (Fourth ranked ACC Pool winner)
5 Heineken Cup 1
6 Heineken Cup 2
7 Heineken Cup 3
8 ACC 5 (Fifth Ranked ACC Pool winner)

Quarter-final pairings

1 (ACC 1) v 8 (ACC 5)
2 (ACC 2) v 7 (Heineken Cup 3)
3 (ACC 3) v 6 (Heineken Cup 2)
4 (ACC 4) v 5 (Heineken Cup 1)

Clubs in the same pool

(ii) if clubs are equal on points and the clubs are in the same pool, then qualification/ranking will be based on the two matches played between the clubs concerned:

(a) the club which has earned the most number of match points from the two matches (four points for a win, two points for a draw and bonus points).
(b) the club which has scored the most tries in the two matches.
(c) the club with the best aggregate points difference from the two matches.

Clubs from different pools

(iii) if still unresolved, or the clubs have not played each other previously in the pool stage, qualification/ranking will be based on:

(a) the number of tries scored in all pool matches.
(b) aggregate points difference from all pool matches.
(c) the club with the fewest number of players sent off and/or suspended in all pool matches.
(d) toss of a coin.

Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final pairings

The winners of the four quarter-final matches will proceed to the semi-final stage. A draw will determine the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals pairings.

(ii) in the event of a tie at full-time in the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final, extra time of 20 minutes (10 minutes each way) will be played.
(iii) if the result is still unresolved the winner will be decided by the following criteria:

(a) the club which has scored the most tries in that match, including extra time.
(b) place-kick competition to determine the winner.

2. Eligibility of Players

(i) each club shall nominate a squad of up to 38 players. A minimum of 10 of the players nominated by the club must be capable of playing in front row forward positions. All players must be fully and properly registered with their club and Union and available to play for the club from a date specified by ERC.

(ii) a club may nominate a maximum of 23 players and a minimum of 19 players for each match. Included amongst such players must be a minimum of six players who can play in front row forward positions and who are suitably trained and experienced.

The club must be able to replace each front row position on the first occasion of an injury to those positions. If unconstested scrums are ordered as a result of their being no suitably trained and experienced front row replacement available, the player whose departure cused the unconstested scrums may not be replaced, ie: the team will be required to play with 14 players.

(iii) after the completion of the pool stage, clubs involved in the knockout stage may nominate three additional players. One of these players must be qualified to play in a front row position and the other two players can play in any position. These additional players must be fully and properly registered by a date specified by ERC. Clubs must ensure that these players have not been nominated in a match squad with another club for the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments during the current season.

(iv) each club may select one additional player during the course of the pool stage. The nominated additional player will replace a registered member of the club's squad and no club will exceed 38 players at any time during the pool stage. The de-registered player may return to the squad at a later date during the pool stage and replace the additional player. Clubs must ensure that the additional player has not been nominated in a match squad with another club for the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments during the current season. The additional player will be eligible to play in the next round of pool matches if his nomination is received by ERC by noon on the Wednesday before the match. The player must have at least a three-month contract with the club. If a additional player is selected by a lub after Round 4 and the club subsequently qualifies for a quarter-final the club will only be allowed to register a further two players for the knockout stage.

(v) each club is permitted a maximum of two "foreign" players in any one match squad.

3. Club Colours

For pool matches and quarter-finals, in the event of a colour clash, the away club will change jerseys. For the semi-finals and final in the event of a colour clash the club selected to change jersey will be by toss of a coin.

4. Anti-Doping programme

This programme is based on and is subject to Regulation 21 (Anti-Doping) of the IRB Regulations.

5. Discipline

((i) the case of any player sent off shall be adjudicated upon by an independent Disciplinary Committee.

(ii) Citing commissioners are appointed by ERC for all Heineken Cup and all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches and are entitled to make a citing complaint against a player for any act of foul play that, in the citing commissioner's opinion, warranted a red card. For such matches, clubs do not have the power to make a citing complaint against a player but may refer incidents to the citing commissioner.

The citing commissioner ordinarily has 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing complaint and the determination of the citing commissioner is final and binding. The Disciplinary Officer may forward any citing complaint to a citing officer (or 'gatekeeper') to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing complaint to proceed. If a citing complaint is to proceed, the Disciplinary Officer will then bring a complaint against the cited player before an independent judicial officer.

6. Abandonment

(i) when a match is abandoned after 60 minutes of play (after 20 minutes of the second half) the result will stand.
(ii) when a match is abandoned with less than 60 minutes played, the match should be replayed in full after 48 hours with both Clubs allowed to name new teams. If both Clubs agree the match may be played sooner than 48 hours. If both Clubs agree, and subject to ERC Board approval, the score of a game abandoned with less than 60 minutes played may stand as the result.

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