The 2014–15 European Rugby Champions Cup pool stage is the first stage of the 20th season of European club rugby union, and the first to be organised under the new European Rugby Champions Cup format, which replaced the Heineken Cup as the top European competition for clubs.
It will involve 20 teams competing, across 5 pools of 4 teams, for 8 quarter-final places - which will be awarded to the 5 pool winners and the 3 top-ranked pool runners-up.
The pool stage will begin in October 2014, and is expected to be completed in January 2015.
The 20 teams have been seeded through a new system based on a clubs performance in their domestic league for previous season alone, whereas the previous tournament, the Heineken Cup, seeded teams based on performance in European Competition over 4 previous seasons.
English teams were seeded by performance in the 2013–14 Aviva Premiership. Clubs seeding was based on regular season competition (Rounds 1 - 22) only.
French teams were seeded by performance in the 2013–14 Top 14. Clubs have been seeded based on performance in the regular season and subsequent play-off phase
Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams were seeded by performance in the 2013–14 Pro12. Clubs have been seeded based on performance in the regular season and subsequent play-offs.
Where teams are being seeded based on play-off performance, if teams were eliminated in the same round of a knock-out tournament, their league position at the end of the regular season determined which team receives a higher seed.
Teams were then placed into 4 Tiers, each containing 5 teams, based on their seeding. A draw determined which two second seeded teams completed Tier 1, and based on this, the fourth seeded teams were allocated to either Tier 2 and Tier 3.
The brackets show each teams seeding and their league (for example, 1 Top 14 indicates the team has been seeded 1st from the Top 14).
Teams will play each other twice, both at home and away, in the group stage, that will begin on the weekend of 17/18/19 October 2014, and continue through to 23/24/25 January 2015, before the pool winners and three best runners-up progress to the quarter finals.
Fixtures were be announced on Thursday 14 August 2014.
Key to colours
Winner of each pool, advance to quarter-finals.
Three highest-scoring second-place teams advance to quarter-finals.