SAINTS have been placed in pool 4 of next season’s Heineken Cup, alongside Ulster, Glasgow Warriors and Castres Olympique.
Jim Mallinder’s men were top seeds, with Ulster coming from Tier 2, Glasgow from Tier 3 and Castres from Tier 4.
It means a quick return to Northampton for No.8 Roger Wilson, who returns to Ulster this summer after four years at Franklin’s Gardens.
Saints were eliminated at the pool stage last season, with defeats to Munster and Scarlets costing them dear.
But the 2011 finalists will expect to fare better this time round and will most likely be favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.
Last season’s finalists Ulster, who lost to Leinster in the showpiece at Twickenham, will provide a stern test.
Saints last faced them in the quarter-finals two seasons ago, winning 23-12 at stadium:mk.
Glasgow could be the surprise package of the pool, while Saints will play Castres for the third season in succession in the pool stages.