Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Heineken Cup Draw Revealed

The 2013/14 Heineken Cup draw has seen Tigers drawn into Pool 5 alongside Belfast based Ulster, Montpellier from France's Mediterranean coast and familiar foes Benetton Treviso from Italy.  

Tigers, Ulster and Montpellier all qualified from their pools last year with all falling at the quarter final stage.  

Full Pool Draw
Tigers have drawn Ulster twice before in 2003/4 and two years ago in 2011/12, wining both home games but crashing to monster defeats in both visits the Ravenhill, losing 41-7 in 2012 and 33-0 in 2004.  Ulster finished top of the RaboDirect Pro 12 but lost in the final to Leinster, with the final controversially played at the RDS in Dublin rather than Belfast.  They won their group last year containing Northampton, Castres and Glasgow; winning at Franklin's Gardens but losing the return fixture the next week.  They lost their Quarter Final to Saracens at Twickenham.

This will be the second season in a row that Tigers have been paired with Treviso, and the third time in the last 6 seasons.  Tigers have played Italian opposition 18 times and won on each occasion, however last December saw them require a 77th minute penalty try to spare their blushes and escape with a 1 point win.  The Trevisians will be after revenge and that will not be a trip for the faint hearted.  Treviso finished 7th in the RaboDirect Pro 12, their highest ever finish.

One new face in the pool will be Montpellier.  Only formed in 1986 Montpellier are definitely the new boys on the Top 14 scene despite earning promotion to the division as far back as 2003.  Domestic finalists in 2011, losing by only 5 points to Toulouse, Montpellier finished 5th in this seasons Top 14 losing to eventual champions Castres in the "Barrage" round, effectively the quarter finals.  This year they tasted Heineken Cup knock out rugby for the first time losing away to Clermont Auverigne after battling through a pool containing eventual champions Toulon as well as Cardiff and Sale. 

Elsewhere French Champions Castres are drawn with RaboDirect Champions Leinster and English runners-up Northampton, with Welsh side Ospreys rounding out pool 1.

In pool 4 Clermont Auverigne are drawn with Harlequins, the only pool other than out own to feature multiple quarter finalists from this year's competition.  

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