Leinster, Munster and Ulster secure favourable Heineken Cup draws
Lady luck was smiling on the Irish provinces as they steered clear of the big guns in today's draw for the pool stages of the Heineken Cup in Dublin.
Reigning Amlin Challenge Cup winners and three-time Heineken Cup champions Leinster are the top seeds in Pool One alongside Aviva Premiership runners-up Northampton, the Ospreys and French side Castres.
Matt O'Connor's side will be highly fancied to top the pool and secure a home semi-final.
Munster are joined in Pool Six by Perpignan, Edinburgh and Premiership side Gloucester.
Ulster face a much stiffer task in Pool Five where they face the Leicester Tigers and Montpellier, both beaten quarter-finalists this year, and Italian minnows Treviso.
Connacht will be delighted with the news that they will entertain European powerhouses Toulouse and Saracens at the Sportsgrounds next year as well as Zebres.
The undoubted group of death is Pool Four which contains beaten finalists this year Clermont Auvergne, Conor O'Shea's Harlequins, the Scarlets and Jonathan Sexton-led Racing Metro side.
Reigning champions Toulon have been drawn in Pool Two with Cardiff Blues, Glasgow and the Exeter Chiefs.
Draw for the 2013-2014 Heineken Cup: