Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors handed tricky Champions Cup draws

Austin Healey European draw
The draw for the European Champions and Challenge Cup took place at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland this afternoon ***Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy***

EDINBURGH have been handed tough draw which lines them up against two French super-powers in the European Champions Cup pool stage next season, while Glasgow Warriors face a slightly easier route to the quarter-finals, although they do have to face the might of English giants Saracens.

“I think we have quite a good group, with an English and French side, along with a Guinness PRO14 team as well. We’ve played Saracens recently and we know how tough that will be, but they are certainly not unbeatable and that will be a good test for us” said Warriors assistant coach Kenny Murray.

“We’ve performed well against Cardiff Blues in recent times and managed to get some good wins against them, but they are a team we have huge respect for.

“Lyon will be a bit of an unknown quantity to us as we’ve not played them in Europe before. They will be an interesting one to preview and with them being a Top 14 semi-finalist they will be a strong side.”

Edinburgh are in Pool 5  against –

Montpellier: who finished at the summit of the French Top 14 table at the end of the last regular season, and are, of course, coached by former Scotland supremo Vern Cotter

Toulon: who were three times (consecutively) European champions between 2013 and 2015, and the club Richard Cockerill coached during the second half of the 2016-17 season before joining Edinburgh

Newcastle Falcons: who finished fourth in the English Aviva Premiership last campaign but have not appeared in the top their of European competition since 2004-5

Glasgow Warriors, meanwhile, are in Pool 3 along with –

Saracens: who defeated Exeter Chiefs in the Grand Final of last season’s Aviva Premiership, and won the Champions Cup in both 2015 and 2016 before falling to eventual winners Leinster at the quarter-final stage last time out

Lyon: who finished fifth in the French Top 14 last season and are making their debut in the top tier of European competition

Cardiff Blues: who are the current European Challenge Cup holders but managed only 11 wins from 21 outings in the Guinness PRO14 last year

The full draw is as follows –

POOL 1: Leinster Rugby, Wasps, Toulouse, Bath Rugby

POOL 2: Castres Olympique, Exeter Chiefs, Munster Rugby, Gloucester Rugby

POOL 3: Saracens, Glasgow Warriors, Lyon, Cardiff Blues

POOL 4: Scarlets, Racing 92, Leicester Tigers, Ulster Rugby

POOL 5: Montpellier, Newcastle Falcons, Edinburgh Rugby, RC Toulon

The European Challenge Cup (which doesn’t involve any Scottish teams) has also been made –

POOL 1: Northampton Saints, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Dragons, Timisoara Saracens

POOL 2: Pau, Ospreys, Worcester Warriors, Stade Francais Paris

POOL 3: Sale Sharks, Connacht Rugby, Bordeaux-Begles, Perpignan

POOL 4: La Rochelle, Zebre Rugby, Bristol Bears, Enisei-STM

POOL 5: Benetton Rugby, Harlequins, Agen, Grenoble

The match schedule for the 2018-19 European season gets under way on the weekend of 12-14th October –

Round 1: 12/13/14 October
Round 2: 19/20/21 October
Round 3: 7/8/9 December
Round 4: 14/15/16 December
Round 5: 11/12/13 January 2019
Round 6: 18/19/20 January 2019
Quarter-finals: 29/30/31 March 2019
Semi-finals: 19/20/21 April 2019
Champions Cup Final: Saturday 11 May 2019, St James’ Park

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About David Barnes 3664 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.