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Van Graan Relishing ‘Very Exciting Challenge’ In Europe

Van Graan Relishing ‘Very Exciting Challenge’ In Europe

South African Johann van Graan has coached Munster to two Champions Cup semi-final appearances in his first two seasons at the province ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The pool draw for the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup took place in Lausanne, Switzerland today with Munster drawn in a heavyweight Pool 4 along with reigning champions Saracens, Racing 92 and the Ospreys.

Saracens, the European Cup and English Premiership title holders, have won the tournament three times in the last four seasons, Racing have qualified for two of the last four Champions Cup finals, and the Ospreys were the leading Welsh side in the GUINNESS PRO14 last season, reaching Europe’s top tier via a play-off against the Scarlets.

A huge challenge awaits as the Munstermen look to extend their enviable record of qualifying for the Champions Cup knockout stages more than any other side – the province have qualified for 18 quarter-finals, winning 14 of those games.

Speaking following today’s draw, Munster head coach Johann van Graan said: “This pool is full of top quality sides and it will be a massive challenge. Saracens have just completed the double after winning the Champions Cup and the English Premiership and everyone knows how strong they are.

“Munster and Racing have faced each other quite a few times in recent years, they are a side that have so many talented players in every position and have reached the final of the competition twice in the last four seasons.

“The Ospreys are another quality outfit we know really well from the PRO14. They won more games than any other Welsh side in the league last year and showed how much the Champions Cup means to them with their excellent play-off win over the Scarlets last month.”

The South African added: “It’s such a tough draw but that’s why it’s called the Champions Cup and that’s why we want to be in this competition. It will be a very exciting challenge for us and it is one that we are looking forward to.”

Fixture details will be announced by EPCR, the tournament organisers, in due course with the Champions Cup’s opening rounds for the 2019/20 season scheduled for November 15-17 and 22-24 due to the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

You can guarantee your place at all three of Munster’s home pool games with a Munster Rugby Season Ticket. Season Tickets and Munster Rugby Supporters Club membership can be purchased from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park, online here, or by calling 021 4323737.


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


Round 1: November 15/16/17, 2019
Round 2: November 22/23/24
Round 3: December 6/7/8
Round 4: December 13/14/15
Round 5: January 10/11/12, 2020
Round 6: January 17/18/19

Quarter-Finals: April 3/4/5
Semi-Finals: May 1/2/3
Final: Stade de Marseille, Saturday, May 23