European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR)
SportRugby union
Founded2014 (2014)
HeadquartersLausanne, Switzerland
ChairmanDominic McKay (From May 2022)
CEOJacques Raynaud (From June 2023)
ReplacedEuropean Rugby Cup (ERC)
Official website

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the governing body and organiser of the two major club rugby union tournaments: the European Rugby Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup.[1] A third tournament, the European Rugby Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition[2] was introduced as a qualification competition for clubs from minor nations to enter the Challenge Cup. EPCR shared control of this tournament with Rugby Europe, the international federation for rugby union in Europe, and with the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR). The tournament was discontinued after the 2018/19 season.

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 seven participating countries.[3]

EPCR has nine stakeholders – the six tier 1 unions whose national teams play in the Six Nations Championship, and the club bodies that represent the English, French, Scottish, Irish, Italian, Welsh and South African clubs in their respective leagues.

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


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 stakeholders 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 Switzerland. 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 9-person Board of Directors, which represents all stakeholders, and includes an independent chairman. The nine shareholders, by country, are listed below:[6]

The EPCR independent chairman is Dominic McKay, who took over as interim chairman when Simon Halliday stepped down in October 2021. McKay was confirmed as permanent chairman in May 2022.[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 Pro14. 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]

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][8][9] 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.[10] Anthony Lepage was appointed to the role of CEO on an interim basis in October 2021 when Gaillard stepped down.[11]


Revenues generated by EPCR tournaments are divided in three equal parts — one third to Premiership Rugby clubs, one third to LNR clubs, and one third to URC clubs.[3][12] 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%.[12]

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.

EPCR continued the award after taking over the running of European competitions, and the first EPCR European Player of the Year Award was presented following the 2014-15 European Rugby Champions Cup season.

The most recent player to be awarded the accolade was Alex Goode in 2019.

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.[13]

ERC European Player of the Year (2010 — 2014)

EPCR European Player of the Year (2015 — present)

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 100 or more European Cup appearances

Team Total
Ireland Leinster 199
Ireland Munster 198
France Toulouse 197
England Leicester Tigers 172
Ireland Ulster 171
Wales Scarlets [n 1] 156
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 138
England Northampton Saints 129
France Montferrand / Clermont Auvergne 128
Wales Cardiff Blues [n 2] 127
Italy Benetton 120
England Wasps 119
Scotland Edinburgh 118
England Saracens 115
England Bath 112
Wales Ospreys 102
England Harlequins F.C. 102
  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 15 January 2024

Players with 100 or more European Cup caps

Player Club(s) Total
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 110
Ireland Cian Healy Leinster 108
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 104
Ireland John Hayes Munster 101
Ireland Peter Stringer Munster, Saracens, Bath, Sale Sharks 101
Updated 15 January 2024

Players with 500 or more European Cup points

Player Club(s) Points
Ireland Ronan O'Gara Munster 1,365
Wales Stephen Jones Llanelli, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne 869
England Owen Farrell Saracens 860
Ireland Johnny Sexton Leinster, Racing 92 784
France Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz 661
Italy Argentina Diego Domínguez Milan, Stade Français 645
Wales Dan Biggar Ospreys, Northampton Saints 634
France Morgan Parra Bourgoin, Clermont 569
Ireland David Humphreys Ulster 564
Wales Leigh Halfpenny Cardiff Blues, Toulon, Scarlets 523
Wales Neil Jenkins Pontypridd, Cardiff, Celtic Warriors 502
France David Skrela Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont Auvergne 500
Updated 15 January 2024

Players with 25 or more European Cup tries

Player Club(s) Tries
England Chris Ashton Northampton Saints, Saracens, Toulon, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers 41
France Vincent Clerc Toulouse 36
Ireland Simon Zebo Munster Rugby, Racing 92 35
Argentina Juan Imhoff Racing 92 33
Ireland Brian O'Driscoll Leinster Rugby 33
Wales Dafydd James Pontypridd, Llanelli, Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues 29
Ireland Tommy Bowe Ulster, Ospreys 29
Ireland Shane Horgan Leinster 27
Ireland Andrew Trimble Ulster 27
Ireland Gordon D'Arcy Leinster 26
Ireland Geordan Murphy Leicester Tigers 25
Fiji Naipolioni Nalaga Clermont Auvergne 25
Updated 15 January 2024


See also


  1. ^ Official site
  2. ^ "Continental Shield".
  3. ^ a b c "European Rugby Cup officials seconded to run the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup", Telegraph, 9 July 2014.
  4. ^ European Rugby Statement, The Rugby Paper, 10/4/14
  5. ^ "European Rugby Cup officials seconded to run the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup".
  6. ^ a b "Future of European Rugby resolved". Archived from the original on 2014-05-25.
  7. ^ Bean, Graham (13 May 2022). "Dominic McKay: New permanent role for former Celtic and Scottish Rugby chief". The Scotsman. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  8. ^ The Guardian Northampton to face Racing, Ospreys and Treviso in European Cup - Accessed 16/6/14
  9. ^ "Inaugural EPCR finals set for London". EPCR. Archived from the original on 2014-08-13.
  10. ^ Appointments of new Director General and Independent Chairman announced - EPCR
  11. ^ "European rugby chiefs working on Club World Cup to take place every four years". Irish Examiner. 6 October 2021. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Heads of disagreement: reflections on the European rugby debacle", Sports Pro, 11 April 2014.
  13. ^ "The Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy".
  14. ^ "Milestones". EPC Rugby. Retrieved 15 January 2024.