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Heineken CupThe draw for the pools for the group stage of the 2013/14 Heineken Cup took place on Wednesday.  Reigning champions Toulon will be in Pool Two along with RaboDirect Pro12 semifinalists Glasgow Warriors, as well as Cardiff Blues and Exeter.

English champions Leicester are in Pool Five with Ulster and Montpellier.

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Pro12 champions Leinster are in Pool 1 with Northampton and Ospreys, Harlequins are in Pool 4 with beaten finalists Clermont Auvergne, and Saracens face Toulouse in Pool 3.

Cardiff Blues were drawn alongside Toulon in the pool stages of last season’s tournament and finished a distant third to the cashed-up French side, who clinched their first ever Heineken Cup when Wilkinson guided them to a narrow victory over fellow French side Clermont Auvergne last month.

The former England fly-half, who was voted European player of the year, has extended his stay with the side from the Mediterranean Coast for a further year and will again stand in the Blues’ way.

Pools 1 and 4 could see the fight for qualification go right to the wire.

Leinster, Northampton and Ospreys are joined in Pool 1 by new French champions Castres, who beat Toulon in the Top 14 final at the weekend.

In Pool 4, Clermont and 2011 English champions Harlequins are joined by a Scarlets side who will be desperate to make up for their poor European campaign last season, and wealthy Parisians Racing Metro, who will have the likes of Lions pair Jamie Roberts and Jonny Sexton in their ranks come the new campaign.

Pool 6, with Edinburgh and Gloucester joining perennial contenders Munster and Catalan side Perpignan, also looks tight.

With Connacht and Zebre completing the Pool 3 line-up, both Toulouse and Saracens will expect to make it into the knock-out stages, with one of the pair qualifying as one of the two best runners-up who join the six group winners in the quarter-finals.

 

Heineken Cup pools

Pool 1: Leinster, Northampton, Ospreys, Castres

Pool 2: Toulon, Cardiff Blues, Glasgow, Exeter

Pool 3: Toulouse, Saracens, Connacht, Zebre

Pool 4: Clermont Auvergne, Harlequins, Scarlets, Racing Metro

Pool 5: Ulster, Leicester, Montpellier, Treviso

Pool 6: Munster, Perpignan, Edinburgh, Gloucester

2 Responses to Heineken Cup: Pools for 2013 / 14 decided

  • 1

    It may not be the ideal format, but its far better than the conference set up we have in SR. By doing a pool system, we can widen the field and have more teams, but less rugby for the players.

  • 2

    @ Lion4ever:
    Agree.

    GBS and I were discussing on the Rebels / Brumbies thread about a 2 division split in SR.

    Less games per team, more airtime for broadcasters, and a facific island and Japanese team(s) could be included as well as a 6th SA team.

    SANZAR not doing too much to grow the game IMO.


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