Leinster draw Clermont Auvergne in Heineken Cup rematch
EUROPEAN Champions Leinster will face Clermont Auvergne again in next season’s Heineken Cup ... this time in the pool stage.
Leinster beat Clermont in a dramatic semi-final on their way to claiming European rugby’s premier prize. Clermont were disallowed a controversial try in the dying moments of the game.
They will also face Scarlets and Exeter, while Munster will face up to Edinburgh, Saracens and Racing Metro.
Beaten finalists Ulster – who have ambitions to go one better next time – got Castres, Northamtpon and Glasgow.
Connacht have been served up and a tough test: Biarritz, Conor O’Shea’s Harlequins and Italian side Zebre.
Btu a shadow hangs over the tournament.
The UK Premier Rugby yesterday confirmed their intention to withdraw from the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups after giving notice, effective from June 1, under the terms of the European Rugby Cup Accord.
The notice period expires at the end of the 2013/2014 tournament at which time the Accord will terminate.
The English clubs - and their French counterparts - are concerned by the format of the competitions and the qualification process.
"We hope that there will now be an urgent dialogue about the future of European cup rugby, including qualification, competition formats and ambition to expand into new markets," Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said.
Heineken Cup draw:
Pool 1: Munster, Edinburgh, Saracens, Racing Metro.
Pool 2: Toulouse, Leicester, Ospreys, Benetton Treviso.
Pool 3: Biarritz, Harlequins, Connacht, Zebre.
Pool 4: Northampton, Ulster, Glasgow, Castres.
Pool 5: Leinster, Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets, Exeter.
Pool 6: Cardiff, Toulon, Sale, Montpellier.