European Professional Club Rugby
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European Professional Club Rugby
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR)
European Professional Club Rugby Logo.png
SportRugby union
Founded2014 (2014)
HeadquartersLausanne, Switzerland
ChairmanSimon Halliday (From 4 May 2015)
Chief ExecVincent Gaillard (From 1 July 2015)
ReplacedEuropean Rugby Cup (ERC)
Official website
www.epcrugby.com

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the governing body and organiser of the two major European rugby union club tournaments: the Heineken Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup.[1] In 2017 a third tournament, the European Rugby Continental Shield[2] was introduced as a qualification competition for clubs from minor nations to enter the Challenge Cup. EPCR share control of this tournament with Rugby Europe, the international federation for rugby union in Europe, and with the Italian federation.

The organisation was established in 2014 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and is now headquartered in Lausanne. Switzerland was chosen so as not to have the headquarters in any of the six participating countries.[3]

The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup run by EPCR replace the Heineken Cup tournament that was run by Dublin-based European Rugby Cup until 2014.

EPCR has nine major shareholders – the six tier 1 unions whose national teams play in the Six Nations Championship, and the three club bodies that represent English, French and Welsh teams in their respective leagues.

The inaugural competitions were held in the 2014–15 season.

For the 2018/19 season the European Champions Rugby Cup was renamed as the Heineken Champions Cup, and will be sponsored by Heineken for the first time since the 2013/14 season.

History

Prior to 2014, the pan-European club competitions - the Heineken Cup, and European Challenge Cup - were organised and run by European Rugby Cup Ltd. (ERC). ERC was created in 1995, following the advent of professionalism, by the then Five Nations Committee.

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 April 10, 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.[4]

Shortly after the establishment of EPCR, it was announced that the running of the inaugural 2014-15 tournament was to be handled in conjunction with ERC, the organisation it had been meant to replace, to facilitate a smooth transition. This was despite the latter having been described by chairman of Premiership Rugby, Quentin Smith, as "no longer fit for purpose". This was described as "something of an about-turn" by The Daily Telegraph.[5]

Since the 2015-16 season, EPCR staff have been running the competitions from their base in Neuchatel. In 2017 the qualifying competition was reconstituted as a fully fledged third competition, the European Rugby Continental Shield.

EPCR Governance

Board of Directors

EPCR is managed through a 12-person Board of Directors, which represents all shareholders, and includes an independent chairman. The nine shareholders, by country, are listed below:[6]

The EPCR independent chairman is ex-England rugby player Simon Halliday, whose appointment was announced 29 April 2015.[7]

Executive Committee

There is also an Executive Committee, in charge of commercial matters relating to the tournaments, and preparations for Board meetings. This committee includes the Independent Chairman, Director-General, and three voting representatives, one representing each of the major European domestic leagues, the Top 14, the English Premiership and Pro 12. Representation by English and French clubs on the three-person executive committee represents an increase in voting power for these two leagues as compared to the previous European Rugby Cup.[3]

The three voting members of the executive are:[8]

Jacques Pineau became the interim Director General of EPCR when the tournament began, and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of EPCR.[6][9][10] On 29 April 2015, it was announced that Swiss national Vincent Gaillard had been appointed the Director General, and would work with Pineau until 1 July 2015, when he would officially take on the role.[7]

Revenue

Revenues generated by EPCR tournaments will be divided in three equal parts -- one third to English clubs, one third to French clubs, and one third to Pro12 clubs, but with a minimum distribution guarantee for Pro12 clubs during the first five years.[3][11] Under the previous European Rugby Cup, the Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian clubs had received 52% of revenues, while the English and French clubs received 48%.[11]

European Player of the Year

The European Player Award was introduced by ERC in 2010, as part of their ERC15 awards, created to recognise the outstanding contributors of the first 15 years of European rugby. The first recipient of the award, considered the best player of the previous 15 years, was Munster Rugby's Ronan O'Gara. Following the award, and beginning with the 2010-11 Heineken Cup season, ERC began presenting a Player of the Year Award annually.

Following EPCR taking over the running of European Competitions, they continued the award, and the first EPCR European Player of the Year Award will be presented following the 2014-15 European Rugby Champions Cup season.

The most recent player to be awarded the accolade was Owen Farrell, in 2017.

Since 2017, the Player of the Year has been awarded The Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy, commissioned in tribute to Anthony Foley, the former Munster head-coach.[12]

ERC European Player of the Year (2010 - 2014)

EPCR European Player of the Year (2015 - )

EPCR Elite Awards

The Elite Awards were created by ERC, to celebrate the 10th anniversary season of the Heineken Cup. Introduced to recognise the most prominent teams and players of the competitions, EPCR has since maintained and continued the awards, updating them to include both Heineken Cup and European Rugby Champions Cup appearances.

Teams with 50 or more European Cup appearances

Team Appearances
(Heineken Cup)
Appearances
(Champions Cup)
Total
Appearances
Ireland Munster 138 20 158
France Toulouse 138 19 157
Ireland Leinster 128 22 150
England Leicester Tigers 124 20 144
Wales Scarlets [n 1] 117 18 135
Ireland Ulster 117 18 135
Wales Cardiff Blues [n 2] 114 0 114
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 91 19 110
Italy Benetton 96 12 108
Scotland Edinburgh 103 0 103
England Northampton Saints 83 20 103
France Montferrand / Clermont Auvergne 76 24 100
England Wasps 78 22 100
France Biarritz Olympique 92 0 92
France Stade Français 79 7 86
England Bath 72 13 85
England Saracens 56 26 82
Wales Ospreys 69 12 81
France USA Perpignan 81 0 81
France Castres Olympique 64 12 76
England Harlequins 68 6 74
England Gloucester 64 0 64
England Sale Sharks 43 12 55
  1. ^ Includes 48 appearances as Llanelli RFC before the introduction of regional teams in Wales *
  2. ^ Includes 44 appearances as Cardiff RFC before the introduction of regional teams in Wales *
Updated 19 May 2017

Players with 100 or more European Cup caps

Player Club(s) Appearances
(Heineken Cup)
Appearances
(Champions Cup)
Total
Appearances
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 110 0 110
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 98 6 104
Ireland John Hayes Munster 101 0 101
Ireland Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath, Sale Sharks 94 7 101
Updated 19 May 2017

Players with 50 or more European Cup caps

The EPCR Elite Awards recognise any player who has won 50 or more European Cup caps. Given the length of this list, an abridged version recognising players with over 65 caps is included.

The full list can be found here.

Rougerie
Player Club(s) Appearances
(Heineken Cup)
Appearances
(Champions Cup)
Total Appearances
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 110 0 110
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 98 6 104
Ireland John Hayes Munster 101 0 101
Ireland Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath, Sale Sharks 94 7 101
Ireland Donncha O'Callaghan Munster 96 1 97
France Clément Poitrenaud Toulouse 87 9 96
Ireland Leo Cullen Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster (2nd stint) 92 0 92
Scotland Nathan Hines Edinburgh, Perpignan, Leinster, Clermont Auvergne, Sale Sharks 85 2 87
Ireland Shane Horgan Leinster 87 0 87
Ireland Brian O'Driscoll Leinster 87 0 87
Ireland Anthony Foley Munster 86 0 86
Ireland David Wallace Munster 86 0 86
Ireland Jamie Heaslip Leinster 66 19 85
France Jean Bouilhou Toulouse 84 0 84
Ireland Marcus Horan Munster 84 0 84
Wales Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets (2nd stint) 84 0 84
France Benjamin Kayser Stade Français, Leicester Tigers, Stade Français (2nd stint), Castres Olympique, Clermont Auvergne 60 23 83
France Vincent Clerc Toulouse 73 9 82
Ireland Paul O'Connell Munster 76 6 82
France Florian Fritz Bourgoin, Toulouse 70 11 81
France Fabien Pelous Dax, Toulouse 81 0 81
France Jean-Baptiste Poux Toulouse 74 7 81
Wales Martyn Williams Pontypridd, Cardiff, Cardiff Blues 81 0 81
France Yannick Jauzion Colomiers, Toulouse 79 0 79
Ireland Eoin Reddan Munster, London Wasps, Leinster 66 13 79
France Thierry Dusautoir Biarritz, Toulouse 61 17 78
France Grégory Lamboley Toulouse 67 11 78
Ireland Alan Quinlan Munster 78 0 78
Italy Martin Castrogiovanni Calvisano, Leicester Tigers, Toulon 71 5 76
France Sylvain Marconnet Stade Français, Biarritz 76 0 76
France Julien Peyrelongue Biarritz 75 0 75
Wales Ian Gough Pontypridd, Newport, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys 74 0 74
Ireland Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers 74 0 74
Ireland Malcolm O'Kelly Leinster 74 0 74
France William Servat Toulouse 74 74 74
England Richard Wigglesworth Sale Sharks, Saracens 48 25 73
France Julien Bonnaire Bourgoin, Clermont Auvergne 64 8 72
Scotland Allan Jacobsen Edinburgh 72 0 72
France Cédric Heymans Brive, Toulouse 71 0 71
Ireland Shane Jennings Leinster, Leicester Tigers, Leinster (2nd stint) 71 0 71
France Jérôme Thion Montferrand, Perpignan, Biarritz 71 0 71
Ireland Roger Wilson Ulster, Northampton Saints, Ulster (2nd stint) 57 14 71
Wales Vernon Cooper Llanelli, Scarlets 70 0 70
England Simon Shaw London Wasps 70 0 70
England Martin Corry Leicester Tigers 69 0 69
France Nicolas Mas Perpignan 67 2 69
France Romain Millo-Chluski Toulouse 64 5 69
France Yannick Nyanga Béziers, Toulouse 55 14 69
Ireland Andrew Trimble Ulster 60 9 69
England Louis Deacon Leicester Tigers 68 0 68
Ireland Girvan Dempsey Leinster 68 0 68
Wales Duncan Jones Neath, Ospreys 66 2 68
Scotland Kelly Brown Borders, Glasgow Warriors, Saracens 52 15 67
England George Chuter Saracens, Leicester Tigers 67 0 67
Ireland John Kelly Munster 67 0 67
Scotland Chris Paterson Edinburgh, Gloucester, Edinburgh (2nd stint) 67 0 67
Wales Adam Jones Neath, Ospreys 66 0 66
France David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne 66 0 66
Wales Chris Wyatt Llanelli, Scarlets, Bourgoin 66 0 66
Ireland Rory Best Ulster 48 17 65
England Ben Kay Leicester Tigers 65 0 65
22 players with 60 - 64 European Cup caps
38 players with 55 - 59 European Cup caps
46 players with 50 - 54 European Cup caps
Updated 19 May 2017

Players with 500 or more European Cup points

Player Club(s) Points
(Heineken Cup)
Points
(Champions Cup)
Points
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 1,365 0 1,365
Wales Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets (2nd stint) 869 0 869
France Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz 661 0 661
Italy Argentina Diego Domínguez Milan, Stade Français 645 0 645
England Owen Farrell Saracens 295 301 596
Ireland David Humphreys Ulster 564 0 564
Ireland Johnny Sexton Leinster, Racing 92, Leinster (2nd stint) 434 101 535
Wales Neil Jenkins Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors 502 0 502
France David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne 500 0 500
Updated 19 May 2017

Players with 25 or more European Cup tries

Player Club(s) Tries
(Heineken Cup)
Tries
(Champions Cup)
Tries
England Chris Ashton Northampton Saints, Saracens 23 16 39
France Vincent Clerc Toulouse 35 1 36
Ireland Brian O'Driscoll Leinster 33 0 33
Wales Dafydd James Pontypridd, Llanelli, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues 29 0 29
Ireland Tommy Bowe Ulster, Ospreys, Ulster (2nd stint) 24 4 28
Ireland Shane Horgan Leinster 27 0 27
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 26 0 26
Ireland Andrew Trimble Ulster 22 4 26
Ireland Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers 25 0 25
Fiji Naipolioni Nalaga Clermont Auvergne 23 2 25
Updated 19 May 2017

See also

References

  1. ^ Official site
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b c "European Rugby Cup officials seconded to run the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup", Telegraph, 9 July 2014.
  4. ^ http://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/featured-post/15722/european-rugby-statement/ European Rugby Statement, The Rugby Paper, 10/4/14
  5. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/european-rugby/10955459/European-Rugby-Cup-officials-seconded-to-run-the-inaugural-European-Rugby-Champions-Cup.html
  6. ^ a b Future of European Rugby resolved, RFU.com Archived 2014-05-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b Appointments of new Director General and Independent Chairman announced - EPCR
  8. ^ EPCR Board
  9. ^ The Guardian Northampton to face Racing, Ospreys and Treviso in European Cup - Accessed 16/6/14
  10. ^ Inaugural EPCR finals set for London Archived 2014-08-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ a b "Heads of disagreement: reflections on the European rugby debacle", Sports Pro, 11 April 2014.
  12. ^ "The Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy". epcrugby.com.

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