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It’s a tough HC Pool draw but Munster will be well up for the task

THE reaction to the draw today for the Pool stages of the Heineken Champions Cup has suggested that Munster will not be too happy with it, but the opposite is sure the be the attitude within the Irish province’s camp. ‘The bigger they are the harder they fall’ has been very much within the Munster ethos for decades and none of the three, Saracens, Racing 92 or the Ospreys will relish the trip to Limerick.
The draw took place in the Centre de Congrès Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Three-time competition winners Saracens, who also completed a magnificent double last season by capturing the Gallagher Premiership title, Racing will represent France and the Ospreys make up a competitive Pool 4
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 final will be staged 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

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