Leicester Tigers have been drawn alongside Scarlets, Racing 92 and Ulster in the pool stages of next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
The draw took place in Lausanne, Switzerland, today with the top 20 teams in Europe’s domestic leagues learning their opponents for the new season.
Scarlets were drawn as top seeds in Pool 4 before the names of Champions Cup finalists Racing, two-time winners Tigers and 1999 champions Ulster were added.
European Cup semi-final rivals of Tigers in 2002 and 2007, Scarlets reached the PRO14 Final in 2017/18 and also got into the last four in Europe before being knocked out by Leinster.
Ulster booked the 20th and last qualifying place in the Champions Cup with a play-off win over Pro14 rivals Ospreys in Belfast in May.
Paris-based Racing have faced Tigers in the last three seasons and moved to their new home stadium this year. They went all the way to the Final in 2017/18 before being beaten 15-12 by Leinster.
Tigers are the only club to qualify for Europe’s top club competition in every season of English participation and will embark on a 22nd year of European rugby in 2018/19.
Twenty clubs qualified on merit for the Champions Cup from Premiership Rugby, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14, and were divided into four tiers of five for the draw.
A preliminary draw was conducted to establish the full Tier 1 line-up with Scarlets and Montpellier joining defending champions Leinster, Premiership winners Saracens and TOP14 winners Castres in the top tier.
Tier 2 included Wasps, Glasgow Warriors and Racing 92, Exeter Chiefs and Newcastle Falcons.
Tigers were among the Tier 3 clubs after finishing in fifth place in the Premiership table alongside Edinburgh, Toulouse, Lyon and Munster, while the final tier for the draw contained the sixth-ranked clubs from each league, namely Bath, Cardiff Blues and Toulon, plus Ulster and Gloucester.
Fixtures will be announced later in the summer following consultation between tournament organisers EPCR, the clubs and their broadcast partners.
Entry to all home games in the pool stages of the Champions Cup is included in Tigers season tickets alongside all Gallagher Premiership league games and two home games in the new Premiership Rugby Cup. Match ticket details will be released shortly.
For all ticket enquiries, contact the Tigers ticket office at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or see the club website.
Heineken Champions Cup
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, Toulon.
European Challenge Cup
Pool 1: Northampton Saints, ASM Clermont Auvergne, Dragons, Timisoara Saracens.
Pool 2: Pau, Ospreys, Worcester Warriors, Stade Francais Paris.
Pool 3: Sale Sharks, Connacht, Bordeaux-Begles, USA Perpignan.
Pool 4: La Rochelle, Zebre Rugby, Bristol Bears, Enisei STM.
Pool 5: Benetton Rugby, Harlequins, Agen, Grenoble.
Heineken Champions Cup pool draw – key principles
• The 20 clubs are divided into four tiers based on their qualifying positions from the leagues, or on other official qualification criteria. This will be done where necessary by a preliminary draw.
• The 20 clubs will then be drawn into five pools of four clubs each.
• Each pool will have at least one club from each of the three leagues.
• Each of the five pools will have one club from each of the four tiers.
• There will be no more than two clubs from the same league in a pool.
• No pool will contain two PRO14 clubs from the same country.
• Clubs from the same league will be kept apart until the allocation of the Tier 4 clubs.
• In the Challenge Cup draw, a club from the Continental Shield cannot be drawn into a pool which contains two TOP 14 clubs or two Premiership clubs.
EPCR key dates 2018/19
Round 1: October 12/13/14
Round 2: October 19/20/21
Round 3: December 7/8/9
Round 4: December 14/15/16
Round 5: January 11/12/13
Round 6: January 18/19/20
Quarter-finals: January 29/30/31
Semi-finals: April 19/20/21
Heineken Champions Cup Final: Saturday May 11, St James’ Park, Newcastle