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Provinces Set For Heavyweight European Clashes

Provinces Set For Heavyweight European Clashes

Beaten semi-finalists this past season, Leinster have been handed the stiffest of draws in the 2015/16 European Champions Cup – they have reigning European champions Toulon, Aviva Premiership runners-up Bath and resurgent Wasps for company in Pool 5.

Provinces’ Reaction – Bryn Cunningam, Anthony Foley, Jamie Heaslip & Pat Lam

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Of course, Leinster have recent history with all three of those clubs. They narrowly lost to Toulon at the semi-final stage in April. Prior to that, they drew 20-all with Wasps to reach the last-eight where they edged out Bath in a tight quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium.

Ulster will face recently-crowned Aviva Premiership champions Saracens, who are coached by Ulsterman Mark McCall, Toulouse and first-time qualifiers Oyonnax in Pool 1. Neil Doak’s men will be out for revenge after losing to Sarries in the 2013 and 2014 quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Munster also have a tough path to the Champions Cup’s last-eight, with new French champions Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers and Benetton Treviso providing the opposition in Pool 4.

The visits of Stade and Leicester to Limerick will bring back memories of the sides’ most recent meetings – Munster beat Stade in a 2004 quarter-final, while Tigers claimed the province’s scalp in a memorable 2007 pool encounter at Thomond Park.

The pool draws for both of ECPR’s tournaments (the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup) took place earlier today in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Connacht, the highest-ranked PRO12 representatives in the Challenge Cup, were joined in Pool 1 by French side Brive, Newcastle Falcons and Russian newcomers Enisei STM.

The westerners’ head coach Pat Lam previously played for Newcastle during his time in England, while Connacht will be keen to avenge two pool losses to Brive from 2008. They have played the Russian club before in friendly matches, including a 54-21 win for the Eagles at the Sportsground last year.

Both pool draws were compered by Craig Doyle (BT Sport) and Raphael Ibanez (France Televisions), and conducted by Ieuan Evans (Sky Sports) and Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports).


POOL 1: Saracens, ULSTER, Toulouse, Oyonnax

POOL 2: Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys, Exeter Chiefs, Bordeaux-Bègles

POOL 3: Glasgow Warriors, Northampton Saints, Racing 92, Scarlets

POOL 4: Stade Francais, MUNSTER, Leicester Tigers, Benetton Treviso

POOL 5: Bath, Toulon, LEINSTER, Wasps


POOL 1: CONNACHT, Brive, Newcastle Falcons, Enisei STM

POOL 2: Sale Sharks, Newport Gwent Dragons, Castres Olympique, Pau

POOL 3: Montpellier, Harlequins, Cardiff Blues, Cammi Calvisano

POOL 4: La Rochelle, Gloucester, Zebre, Worcester Warriors

POOL 5: Edinburgh, London Irish, Grenoble, Agen

2015/16 Tournament Weekends:

Round 1: November 12/13/14/15
Round 2: November 19/20/21/22
Round 3: December 10/11/12/13
Round 4: December 17/18/19/20
Round 5: January 14/15/16/17
Round 6: January 21/22/23/24
Quarter-Finals: April 7/8/9/10
Semi-Finals: April 22/23/24
Finals: May 13/14