Heineken Cup Pool Draw As It Happened
Right folks, that’s it. Pool 2 is the ‘Pool of Death’ and is blissfully Irish free. Leinster face Clermont again in Pool 5 but that should be well within their scope. Munster and Ulster all have Pools they will enter with confidence and Connacht will fancy their chances in Pool 3 too. A very good Irish draw. Roll on September.
Connacht have much to look forward to too. Zebre are unknown but surely beatable, and Harlequins have been beaten before. Biarritz will be a big occasion too.
Munster fans should be happy and Rob Penney should be pleased too while Ulster should have nothing to fear either.
Mick Dawson from Leinster says that Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt will be getting sick of each other. They might be but we can’t wait for more games between those to. He also says you want to be in the whole of your health to get out of Pool 2.
Okay, here’s the full list
Good news for Connacht as they get Italian newbies Zebre in their Pool 3.
Castre complete Ulster’s Pool 4 while Exeter Chiefs go into Pool 5 with Leinster and Clermont. Tough.
Racing Metro complete Munster’s Pool 1 opponent list.
Glasgow go into Pool 4 with Ulster and Northampton
Scarlets join Leinster and Clermont in 5. Ospreys go into 2 with Toulouse and Leicester
Lots of familiar clashes so far…
Connacht go into Pool 3 with Biarritz and Harlequins
Saracens in with Munster too…
And that leaves Edinburgh to go in with Munster in Pool 1
Ulster in with Northampton
Clermont in with Leinster…while Toulon in with Cardiff.
Leinster go into Pool 5, Cardiff into 6, Saints in 4, Munster in 1
Can everyone just give us an old F5, just to refresh, should update automatically after that…
Right, nearly time to go. As always it is hard to see an easy draw for any of the Irish provinces but none of them will fear anybody, given their record.
Video bit now looking back at last year and looking ahead to the 2013 finals of the Heineken and Amlin in Dublin. An All-Irish final would be extra sweet next year.
Craig Doyle is hosting the draw. Make of that what you will…
Of course, we will be keeping an eye out for the four Irish provinces. Leinster and Munster are in the top tier and Ulster are now in the second tier. As explained, they can’t be drawn against each other at this point.
Connacht are up to tier 3 so, with a bit of luck, they might get one of the new boys, Exeter or Zebre.
As for how the draw works, the ERC rugby rankings are fairly complex and we don’yt need to go into too much detail. Below are the four tiers, from which a team from each will go into each Pool. No team from the same country can play each other in the Pool excelt for France, who have seven teams in this year’s Heineken Cup
Tier 1 – Leinster Rugby, Toulouse, Biarritz Olympique, Munster Rugby, Cardiff Blues, Northampton Saints
Tier 2 – ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Leicester Tigers, Harlequins, Toulon, Edinburgh Rugby
Tier 3 – Ospreys, Scarlets, Glasgow Warriors, Saracens, Connacht Rugby, Sale Sharks
Tier 4 – Castres Olympique, Benetton Treviso, Racing Metro 92, Montpellier, Exeter Chiefs, Zebre
The ‘action’, such as it is, begins in five minutes but the lads in the ERC are not Uefa, this thing usually gets run off pretty quickly.
It is just over three weeks since Leinster lifted their third Heineken Cup, demolishing Ulster in the process. However the road to next year’s final, at Aviva Stadium, begins today with the draw for next year’s Pool stages. Follow all the action right here.