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Champions Cup play-offs revised

Tournament organisers have announced a revised play-off format to decide the 20th and final qualifiers for next season's European Rugby Champions Cup.

Wasps filled that berth this term after beating French opponents Stade Francais on aggregate over two legs.

Next May, though, the seventh-placed Avvia Premiership finishers will face the eighth-placed team - or highest ranked team that has not already qualified - from the Guinness PRO12. A coin toss will decide home advantage for a straight knockout game.

The winners will then be at home seven days later on May 30 against the French Top 14's seventh-ranked club, with the victors securing a Champions Cup spot.

Cup chiefs say it has been done to " facilitate fixture schedules" in the three leagues.

"With this revised Champions Cup play-off format, we have respected the wishes of the three leagues," European Professional Club Rugby director general Jacques Pineau said.

"The board of EPCR has agreed an alteration to the initial format in the tournament heads of agreement, and we are confident that the play-offs will enhance what promises to be an exciting season of European professional club rugby."

A total of 19 clubs will qualify on merit through their finishing positions in the three leagues - Premiership, PRO12 and Top 14 - this term.

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