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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

Here we go again: Irish provinces learn opponents in next season's Heineken Cup

Champions Leinster were first out of the hat in Twickenham today while Connacht, Munster and Ulster also learned fate.

Jonny Sexton.
Jonny Sexton.
Image: INPHO/Colm O'Neill

CHAMPIONS LEINSTER WILL face English heavyweights Bath in next year’s Heineken Cup pool stages.

The draw has just been made this lunchtime in Twickenham for next season’s tournament.

Joe Schmidt’s men will also face Glasgow and Montpellier in their bid to defend the trophy which they won in Cardiff last month.

Munster, meanwhile, have been drawn with Leinster’s opponents in that Millennium Cup finale, Northampton Saints. Pool 1 is completed by Scarlets and Castres.

Tournament new boys Connacht were included as part of the lowest seeds and face a tough assignment in Pool 6. They will welcome Heineken Cup luminaries like Toulouse, Harlequins and Gloucester to Galway.

Though European Cup veterans and former winners, Ulster too are up against it next season. English Premiership side Leicester and big-spending French outfit Clermont are joined in the Ravenhill side’s group with Aironi.

Because, this year, the Rugby World Cup will be concluded in October, Europe’s elite club competition will get underway later than usual, with the opening pool games scheduled for the weekend 11-13 November.

The seeding system is based on performances in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup over the past four seasons.

The full draw is as follows:

  • Pool 1: Munster, Northampton, Scarlets, Castres
  • Pool 2: Cardiff Blues, London Irish, Edinburgh, Racing Metro
  • Pool 3: Leinster, Bath, Glasgow, Montpellier
  • Pool 4: Leicester, Clermont, Ulster, Aironi
  • Pool5: Biarritz, Ospreys, Saracens, Treviso
  • Pool 6: Toulouse, ‘Quins, Gloucester, Connacht

What do you think of the Irish provinces’ chances?

No more World Cup slip-ups, vows Reddan

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