Draw for inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup made
June 10, 2014
Simon Shaw shakes hands with Scott Quinnell after the pool draws © Getty Images
English champions Northampton and Heineken Cup runners-up Saracens have been handed tough European draws next season.
Saints, who beat Saracens in last month's Premiership final, will be in Pool Five of the new European Rugby Champions Cup alongside Racing Metro, Ospreys and Treviso. Saracens, meanwhile, are in Pool One with Munster, Clermont Auvergne and Sale Sharks, which is arguably the hardest group.
Elsewhere, Harlequins are in Pool Two alongside Leinster, Castres and Wasps, while Leicester face last month's Heineken Cup winners Toulon, Ulster and Scarlets, with Bath in Pool Four, where they join Glasgow, Montpellier and Toulouse.
Toulon will start as favourites in their pool, although trips to Leicester and Belfast have trouble written all over them.
And Bath, the 1998 Heineken Cup winners, must overcome a twin French heavyweight threat of four-time Heineken Cup champions Toulouse and Montpellier.
The five pool winners and three best runners-up will secure quarter-final places.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall