Gloucester Rugby director of rugby David Humphreys forecast “an incredibly exciting tournament”, after learning that the English club would be facing two French teams and Irish opposition in Pool 5 of the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup.
Wednesday’s draw pitted the Gallagher Premiership side against TOP 14 champions Toulouse, Montpellier and Connacht Rugby, the first time they have been paired with Montpellier in European competition.
“There are no easy draws in the Heineken Champions Cup and we’ve been drawn in the same pool as some top teams,” Humphreys told the Gloucester website.
“Toulouse are, of course, the current TOP 14 champions and have returned to the top of the French and European club game this season. They have real quality in their side.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) June 19, 2019
“We’re very familiar with the challenge that Connacht will present, having played them so many times in recent seasons. There is never an easy game against them and we expect a couple of very tough encounters.
“Montpellier are another tough French opponent, particularly on their own turf. They have a lot of big names in their squad and a decent European pedigree, having won the Challenge Cup in 2016.
“It all points to an incredibly exciting tournament and everyone at the club is looking forward to the team testing themselves against the best in Europe.”
Connacht head coach Andy Friend labelled the Pool 5 line-up as “a tasty challenge” on Twitter, adding: “Really looking forward to getting back on the training field and starting our prep – bring it on!!”
It will be especially tasty for prop Paddy McAllister, who has moved from Gloucester to Connacht. The 29-year-old Irishman tweeted: “Great pool for @connachtrugby. I could have put my mortgage on it that a trip back to Kingsholm was going to happen.”
The steal from Dillane 🤚
The break from Aki and Ronaldson 🏃♂️
The pass from Blade 🏉
The finish from Niyi ✅
Who could forget this stunning try the last time Toulouse visited the Sportsground?! 😍 pic.twitter.com/5Fz5SIkYBW
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) June 20, 2019