2018-19 European draws: Wasps and Bath pitted against defending champions
Wasps and Bath Rugby will lock horns with reigning champions Leinster in next season’s European Rugby Champions Cup.
The draw for the 2018-19 edition of Europe’s premier cup competition, as well as the Challenge Cup, took place at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday afternoon.
European Rugby Champions Cup
Wasps, who were Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finalists last term, and Bath have been placed in Pool One alongside Irish outfit Leinster, who completed a domestic and European double by defeating Racing 92 15-12 in Bilbao in last season’s Champions Cup final, with Toulouse completing a quartet of former winners.
The 2018-19 finals will take place at St James’ Park in Newcastle on May 10-11 and Dean Richards’ Newcastle Falcons have been drawn in Pool Five alongside Montpellier, Edinburgh Rugby and three-time winners Toulon.
Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester Rugby – 2017-18 Challenge Cup finalists – are paired in Pool Two, along with last season’s Top 14 champions Castres and Irish side Munster.
Last term, Saracens were the only team from Aviva Premiership Rugby to qualify for the quarter-finals but their bid to lift the Champions Cup for the third time in a row came to an end with a 30-19 defeat to eventual winners Leinster.
They look to roar back in 2018-19 having been drawn in Pool Three alongside Glasgow Warriors, Lyon and Cardiff Blues.
And in Pool Four, Leicester Tigers fly the flag for England, taking on Scarlets, Racing 92 and Ulster.
European Rugby Challenge Cup
No Aviva Premiership Rugby side has won the European Rugby Challenge Cup more times than Harlequins (three) and they find themselves in Pool Five in 2018-19, taking on Benetton Rugby, of Italy, as well as French outfits Agen and Grenoble.
Northampton Saints are in Pool One alongside 2016-17 Champions Cup finalists Clermont Auvergne, Dragons and Timisoara Saracens, of Romania, while Worcester Warriors are paired with two French teams – Pau and Stade Francais – in Pool Two, as well as Ospreys.
Sale Sharks will do battle with Connacht, Bordeaux-Bègles and Perpignan in Pool Three while the newly-promoted Bristol Bears earn a berth in Pool Four with La Rochelle, Zebre and Enisei-STM, of Russia.
2018-19 European Rugby Champions Cup pools
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
2018-19 Challenge Cup pools
Pool 1: Northampton Saints, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Dragons, Timisoara Saracens
Pool 2: Pau, Ospreys, Worcester Warriors, Stade Français Paris
Pool 3: Sale Sharks, Connacht Rugby, Bordeaux-Bègles, Perpignan
Pool 4: La Rochelle, Zebre Rugby Club, Bristol Bears, Enisei-STM
Pool 5: Benetton Rugby, Harlequins, Agen, Grenoble
EPCR weekends – 2018/19 season
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
2019 Newcastle Finals
Challenge Cup final: Friday, May 10, St James’ Park
Champions Cup final: Saturday, May 11, St James’ Park