1. ITV Report

Saints: A quick guide to the European Champions Cup

Northampton Saints celebrate their title win Photo: PA
The new European Champions Cup Credit: EPC

The new European Champions Cup works as follows.

  • 20 teams qualify
  • The top 6 from French Top 14, Top six from the Aviva Premiership and the Top 7 from the Pro 12.
  • There are five pools of four teams - teams will play each other home and away - best placed team in each pool plus the three best second place teams qualify for quarter-finals.

Racing Metro are based in the west of Paris.

The club's strip is a tribute to the University of Cambridge. The university which was twinned with the Lycée Condorcet school - where the artist Toulouse Lautrec and car manufacturer Louis Renault once studied.

Racing Metro - strip a nod to Cambridge boat crews Credit: PA

Metro were the first champions of France and have lifted the title 11 times and one of their hall of famers is Pierre de Coubertin who founded the modern Olympics.

The club's present form was created in a merger between ‘Racing’ and ‘US Metro’ in 2001.

Ospreys Credit: PA

The Ospreys - formed with the merger of Neath and Swansea - boast that they have the best selling shirt in European rugby.

Dylan Thomas was born a stone's throw away from the Liberty Stadium - his poems were credited with inspiring a Welsh side featuring Ospreys stars to victory in the 6 Nations.

Ospreys busy beating Australia Credit: PA

Ospreys were also the only Welsh club regional side to have beaten a major touring nation. Beating the Aussies 24-16 in 2006.

Treviso against Ulster Credit: PA

The united colours of Benetton Treviso - the team are owned by the Italian clothing firm.

Based in Northern Italy the team has boasted a number of notable players including world cup winners Michael Lynagh of Australia and Kiwi Craig Green.

Treviso won't relish playing Ospreys - they were thumped 75-17 in February in the Pro 12.

Saints European records

v Racing Metro

Saints first ever trip to Paris in the top European competition.

v Ospreys

12 Jan 2014 Ospreys 17 - 29 Northampton Saints 12 20 Oct 2013 Northampton Saints 27 - 16 Ospreys v Treviso

V Treviso19 Dec 2009 Benetton Treviso 18 - 21 Northampton Saints 12 Dec 2009 Northampton Saints 30 - 18 Benetton Treviso