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Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs learn 2016/17 European fate

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Last season’s Champions Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby winners Saracens have been drawn in Pool 3 of the European Rugby Champions Cup following the Pool draws for EPCR’s tournaments in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. 

Saracens, who won the Champions Cup final for the first time in Lyon last month, will be up against three-time tournament winners RC Toulon, the sole Welsh region in the Champions Cup Scarlets and Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Sale Sharks, when the 2016/17 season kicks off in October. 

The TOP 14 winners and Champions Cup beaten finalists, Racing 92, have been drawn in Pool 1 with Glasgow Warriors, Leicester Tigers and Munster Rugby.

Exeter Chiefs, the number two-ranked club from Aviva Premiership Rugby, will clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby and Bordeaux-Bègles in Pool 5.  

Connacht Rugby, who were crowned PRO12 champions for the first time last season, were drawn in Pool 2 with Wasps, Toulouse and Zebre Rugby.

Leinster Rugby, the second-ranked Irish province from the PRO12, will face Montpellier, Northampton Saints and Castres Olympique in Pool 4. 

Harlequins, the number-one ranked Aviva Premiership Rugby club in the Challenge Cup draw, will play Edinburgh Rugby, Stade Français Paris and Timisoara Saracens from Romania in Pool 5, while Cardiff Blues, the highest-ranked PRO12 representative, are in Pool 4 against Bath Rugby, Pau and Bristol Rugby. 

Both pool draws were compered by Alex Payne (Sky Sports) and Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), and conducted by Ieuan Evans (Sky Sports) and Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports). 

The draws, held in Neuchatel where EPCR has its headquarters, were covered on Sky Sports News, beIN Sports and Infosport+ and streamed live on www.epcrugby.com 

2016/17 Champions Cup pools 

Pool 1: Racing 92, Glasgow Warriors, Leicester Tigers, Munster Rugby
Pool 2: Connacht Rugby, Wasps, Toulouse, Zebre Rugby
Pool 3: Saracens, RC Toulon, Scarlets, Sale Sharks
Pool 4: Leinster Rugby, Montpellier, Northampton Saints, Castres Olympique
Pool 5: Exeter Chiefs, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Ulster Rugby, Bordeaux-Bègles

2016/17 Challenge Cup pools 

Pool 1:  La Rochelle, Gloucester Rugby, Benetton Treviso, Bayonne
Pool 2:  Ospreys, Grenoble, Newcastle Falcons, Lyon
Pool 3: Brive, Worcester Warriors, Newport Gwent Dragons, Enisei-STM
Pool 4: Cardiff Blues, Bath Rugby, Pau, Bristol Rugby
Pool 5: Harlequins, Edinburgh Rugby, Stade Français Paris, Timisoara Saracens

EPCR weekends – 2016/17

Round 1: 13/14/15/16 October
Round 2: 20/21/22/23 October
Round 3: 8/9/10/11 December
Round 4: 15/16/17/18 December
Round 5: 12/13/14/15 January 2017
Round 6: 19/20/21/22 January 2017
Quarter-finals: 30/31 March – 1/2 April 2017
Semi-finals: 21/22/23 April 2017

Finals Edinburgh 2017
European Rugby Challenge Cup: Friday 12 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium
European Rugby Champions Cup: Saturday 13 May, BT Murrayfield Stadium

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BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)