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Champions Cup draw: Saracens and Munster to renew European rivalry in ‘Pool of Death’

The Independent logo The Independent 19/06/2019
(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport/Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport/Getty Images)

Saracens and Munster will renew their European rivalry next season after the two clubs were drawn together in pool four of the Champions Cup, just two months since their hostile semi-final last season.

Reigning champions Saracens will attempt to win a fourth European crown in the space of five years, but face a difficult pool stage after being placed against the two-time champions Munster, as well as the 2017/18 finalists Racing 92 in what looks to be the closest group to a ‘Pool of Death’.

The only Welsh side in the tournament, the Ospreys, find themselves with the unfavourable task of completing pool four.

(Photo by Ian Rutherford/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Ian Rutherford/PA Images via Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Stuart Hogg will face an immediate return to Glasgow Warriors after they were placed in pool two alongside his new club Exeter Chiefs, with La Rochelle and Sale Sharks also set to face this month’s beaten Premiership finalists.

Leinster meanwhile will be looking to become the first club to win the Champions Cup five times after missing out on the opportunity in last month’s final defeat by Saracens, and they face trips to France, England and Italy in the form of pool one opponents Lyon, Northampton Saints and Benetton Rugby, who make a welcome return to the competition after their impressive form in the Pro14 last season.

(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The only side who can beat Leinster to that accolade next season is recently-crowned French champions Toulouse, who fresh from their Top 14-title clinching victory over Clermont Auvergne take on Gloucester, Connacht and domestic opposition in Montpellier in pool five.

The final four teams who find themselves in pool three features Clermont, who return to the Champions Cup after last season’s triumph in the second-tier Challenge Cup, and they will come up against two of the seven Premiership teams in the competition in Harlequins and Bath, as well as the fourth Irish province in the shape of Ulster.

Champions Cup draw:

Pool 1: Leinster, Lyon, Northampton Saints, Benetton Rugby

Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors, La Rochelle, Sale Sharks

Pool 3: Clermont Auvergne, Ulster, Harlequins, Bath

Pool 4: Saracens, Munster, Racing 92, Ospreys

Pool 5: Toulouse, Gloucester, Connacht, Montpellier

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