The holders, Saracens, have been drawn in Pool 4 of the Heineken Champions Cup following the Pool Draws for EPCR’s 2019/20 tournaments which took place today (Wednesday 19 June) at the Centre de Congrès Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The three-time competition winners, who also completed a magnificent double last season by capturing the Gallagher Premiership trophy, will be up against Munster Rugby, Racing 92 and the Ospreys in one of five highly-competitive pools.
Leinster Rugby, runners-up in the Newcastle final, will have hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the tournament yet again when they take on Lyon, Northampton Saints and Benetton Rugby in Pool 1 next season.
The Exeter Chiefs were drawn in Pool 2 alongside Glasgow Warriors, La Rochelle and Sale Sharks, while the recent Challenge Cup winners and TOP 14 losing finalists, ASM Clermont Auvergne, will go head-to-head with Ulster Rugby, Harlequins and Bath Rugby in Pool 3.
Two TOP 14 clubs, Toulouse and Montpellier, were drawn into Pool 5 against Gloucester Rugby and Connacht Rugby.
Meanwhile, Wasps, the number-one ranked Premiership club in the Challenge Cup draw, will clash with Edinburgh Rugby, Bordeaux-Bègles and Agen in Pool 3, while Scarlets, the highest-ranked Guinness PRO 14 representative, are up against RC Toulon, London Irish and Bayonne in Pool 2.
The event, which was streamed live on epcrugby.com, official tournament Facebook channels, Virgin Media Sport and beIN SPORTS was compered by Sarra Elgan (BT Sport) and Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), and the draws were conducted by Bryan Habana (Channel 4) and Dimitri Yachvili (beIN SPORTS).
The draws mapped out the first steps of the 25th season of European professional club rugby which will culminate in Marseille in May 2020 and almost 30,000 tickets have already been bought by fans for what promises to be another memorable Finals Weekend.
2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup pools
Pool 1: Leinster Rugby, Lyon, Northampton Saints, Benetton Rugby
Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors, La Rochelle, Sale Sharks
Pool 3: ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Harlequins, Bath Rugby
Pool 4: Saracens, Munster Rugby, Racing 92, Ospreys
Pool 5: Toulouse, Gloucester Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Montpellier
2019/20 Challenge Cup pools
Pool 1: Castres Olympique, Worcester Warriors, Dragons, Enisei-STM
Pool 2: Scarlets, RC Toulon, London Irish, Bayonne
Pool 3: Wasps, Edinburgh Rugby, Bordeaux-Bègles, Agen
Pool 4: Stade Français Paris, Bristol Bears, Zebre Rugby Club, Brive
Pool 5: Cardiff Blues, Leicester Tigers, Pau, Rugby Calvisano
EPCR weekends – 2019/20 season
Round 1: 15/16/17 November 2019
Round 2: 22/23/24 November 2019
Round 3: 6/7/8 December 2019
Round 4: 13/14/15 December 2019
Round 5: 10/11/12 January 2020
Round 6: 17/18/19 January 2020
Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2020
Semi-finals: 1/2/3 May 2020
2020 finals – Stade de Marseille
Challenge Cup final – Friday 22 May
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 23 May