Irish provinces discover their fate as Champions Cup draw is made
Some tasty fixtures here.
The draw for the pool stages of the 2023/24 Champions Cup took place, this afternoon, and has thrown up some tantalising pools for December and January.
The changed Champions Cup format now sees four pools of six teams, with each side playing a once-off fixture against sides in their pool. Effectively, teams will be trying to tot up as many points possible to top their pool.
Ulster are in with top French sides Toulouse and Racing 92. Harlequins and Bath are the English sides in Pool 2, rounded out by Cardiff.
The big clubs in Munster's pool are Exeter Chiefs, 2020 champions, and Toulon, as well as old foes Glasgow. Northampton and Bayonne are also in Pool 3.
Leinster were drawn in the same pool as their nemesis, La Rochelle, the reigning Champions Cup title-holders. Leicester Tigers and South Africa's Stormers are also in Pool 4, along with Sale Sharks and Stade Francais.
Connacht are in Pool 1 with Saracens, Bulls and Bristol Bears, along with French sides Bordeaux and Lyon.
CHAMPIONS CUP POOLS - HOW IT WORKS
The fixtures for the pool stages will be released in the coming weeks, with the final set for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, next May.
The pool draw means these sides will be up against each other when it comes to racking up wins and points to finish as high as possible. For example, Leinster will have to play La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester and Sale, as Stormers are in their league.
POOLS HAVE BEEN DRAWN 🔥
Some huge match ups – which game are you most looking forward to? 👀
Remember, teams will play 4 Pool Stage games home or away with no repeats and no same-league clashes… pic.twitter.com/fNb25ktniB
— Investec Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) June 21, 2023
Last season, Leinster had all four knock-out games in Dublin as they were top seeds and Aviva Stadium is their nominated home ground for big fixtures. It is also the IRFU's nominated ground for semi-final ties.
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