Saracens and Munster to face-off as Champions Cup draw announced

Defending champions Saracens will renew their European rivalry with Munster next season after the two clubs were drawn together in Pool 4 of the Champions Cup.

Defending champions Saracens will renew their European rivalry with Munster next season after the two clubs were drawn together in Pool 4 of the Champions Cup.

Saracens beat their Irish rivals 32-16 in the semi-finals en route to last month’s triumph, their third European success in four years, in a game where England captain Owen Farrell impressed.

The encounter will see Farrell go head-to-head once more with Ireland duo Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray, a pair he will be familiar with from several Guinness Six Nations battles over the years.

Joining Mark McCall’s side in the so called ‘Pool of Death’ are 2017/18 semi-finalists Racing 92 – packed full of France talent – and the only Welsh side in the competition Ospreys, who boast reigning Guinness Six Nations player of the competition Alun Wyn Jones.

Elsewhere, Scotland legend Stuart Hogg is set for an immediate reunion with former club Glasgow Warriors after his Exeter side were drawn with the Warriors in Pool 2.

Scotland full-back Hogg, who spent nine years at the Warriors before moving to Exeter this summer, will be back at the Scotstoun much earlier than he may have anticipated after being drawn in a group which also contains French outfit La Rochelle and Sale Sharks.

Hogg, who featured in Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations victory over Italy and defeat to Ireland this year, can expect to face off against Guinness Six Nations rivals in the form of England duo Chris Ashton and rising star Tom Curry, both of whom represent Sale.

Pool 1 sees Northampton Saints join four-time Champions Cup winners Leinster, Lyon and Benetton with Welsh star outside-half Dan Biggar, who starred in this year’s Guinness Six Nations as Wales secured their first Grand Slam since 2012, and Irish fly-half Johnny Sexton the key men involved.

In Pool 3 Harlequins and Bath Rugby, who finished fifth and sixth respectively in the Premiership this season, sit alongside Challenge Cup winners Clermont and Ulster.

Rounding off the draw, Gloucester take their place in Pool 5 and are joined by two French sides in the form of Top 14 champions Toulouse and Montpellier as well as Connacht.

The draws mapped out the first steps of the 25th season of European professional club rugby which will culminate in Marseille in May 2020 and almost 30,000 tickets have already been bought by fans for what promises to be another memorable Finals Weekend.

2019/20 Champions Cup pools

Pool 1: Leinster Rugby, Lyon, Northampton Saints, Benetton Rugby

Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors, La Rochelle, Sale Sharks

Pool 3: ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Harlequins, Bath Rugby

Pool 4: Saracens, Munster Rugby, Racing 92, Ospreys

Pool 5: Toulouse, Gloucester Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Montpellier

2019/20 Challenge Cup pools

Pool 1: Castres Olympique, Worcester Warriors, Dragons, Enisei-STM

Pool 2: Scarlets, RC Toulon, London Irish, Bayonne

Pool 3: Wasps, Edinburgh Rugby, Bordeaux-Bègles, Agen

Pool 4: Stade Français Paris, Bristol Bears, Zebre Rugby Club, Brive

Pool 5: Cardiff Blues, Leicester Tigers, Pau, Rugby Calvisano

EPCR weekends – 2019/20 season

Round 1: 15/16/17 November 2019

Round 2: 22/23/24 November 2019

Round 3: 6/7/8 December 2019

Round 4: 13/14/15 December 2019

Round 5: 10/11/12 January 2020

Round 6: 17/18/19 January 2020

Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2020

Semi-finals: 1/2/3 May 2020

2020 finals – Stade de Marseille

Challenge Cup final – Friday 22 May

Champions Cup final – Saturday 23 May