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Rugby News

O'Connor reflects on Champions Cup draw

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Matt O’Connor has described the Leicester Tigers in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup as “very competitive” after being drawn alongside Scarlets, Racing 92 and Ulster.

Tigers have European Cup history against all three teams, facing Scarlets and Ulster on numerous occasions including being drawn together in the pool stages in 2014/15, while they will meet Racing for a fourth successive season in 2018/19.

“It’s a very competitive pool, but every pool is tough in this tournament with the top 20 teams from across Europe involved,” said Tigers head coach O’Connor.

“We obviously know all about Racing after playing against them so often in recent years, and Ulster have been pretty regular opponents for us too. Scarlets were impressive in the Pro14 and in Europe last season so we’ll look forward to meeting them all.

“We always have great support home and away and there should be some big days for the supporters and the players again in the competition in the new season.”

Tigers are two-time winners of the European Cup and have reached the final on three other occasions, but went out in the pool stages last season after being drawn against Racing, Munster and eventual French league champions Castres.

O’Connor added: “We know you need to be at our very best in every game in this tournament. It’s all about trying to be good enough on the day to get out of your group and stay alive in the competition.”

Scarlets were European Cup semi-final rivals of Tigers in 2002 and 2007, while they reached the PRO14 Final and European semi-final last season.

Ulster lifted the trophy in 1999 and qualified for next season’s tournament via a play-off win against Pro14 rivals Ospreys in May.

Racing have faced Tigers in the last three seasons and will welcome their rivals to their new stadium in the French capital in the new season. They were beaten finalists in 2017/18.

Fixtures will be announced later in the summer following consultation between tournament organisers EPCR and their broadcast partners.

Entry to 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 click the link below.

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.

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: March 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