Leinster lead the Guinness PRO14 charge after European draws announced

Charlie Talbot-Smith
19 June 2019

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Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster will bid to reclaim their European crown in Pool 1 alongside Benetton Rugby after the Champions Cup pool stages were unveiled on Wednesday.

Leinster, four-time champions of Europe but beaten in last month’s final by Saracens, are joined by the breakthrough Benetton in a pool that also includes Northampton Saints and Lyon.

Elsewhere, the Guinness PRO14 runners-up Glasgow Warriors are in Pool 2 alongside Premiership runners-up Exeter Chiefs, Sale Sharks and the Top 14’s La Rochelle.

That means that Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg will be back at Scotstoun sooner than expected after his move from Glasgow to Exeter this summer.

Ulster are in Pool 3 where they will face off with Top 14 runners-up Clermont Auvergne and Premiership duo Harlequins and Bath Rugby.

Munster – twice champions of Europe – will be out for revenge when they take on Saracens in a very competitive Pool 4.

Sarries have beaten Munster twice in the last three years at the semi-final stage and they are joined in the Pool by Racing 92 – runners-up in two of the last four years.

The fourth team, like Munster, hail from the Guinness PRO14 as the only Welsh region at the top table the Ospreys look to cause an upset or two.

And finally in Pool 5, Connacht are back in the big time and take on Top 14 champions Toulouse – who they famously beat in this competition back in 2013.

Rounding out the Pool are Gloucester and Montpellier for what should be a compelling Champions Cup campaign.

Meanwhile, in the Challenge Cup the Dragons are in Pool 1 alongside Castres, Worcester Warriors and Enisei-STM.

Scarlets have a tough Pool 2 that includes French powerhouses RC Toulon, big-spending London Irish and newly-promoted Bayonne.

Pool 3 is also packed with class, Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh side take on Wasps, Bordeaux-Begles and Agen.

Zebre are in Pool 4 with Bristol Bears, Brive and Stade Francais while the Cardiff Blues are in Pool 5 alongside Leicester Tigers, Pau and Rugby Calvisano.

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