Saints handed favourable draw in European Rugby Champions Cup

George Pisi scores a try in Saints' Heineken Cup victory at Ospreys in January (picture: Linda Dawson)
George Pisi scores a try in Saints' Heineken Cup victory at Ospreys in January (picture: Linda Dawson)

Saints have been handed a favourable draw in the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup.

Jim Mallinder’s men will face Top 14 side Racing Metro, RaboDirect PRO12 outfit Ospreys and Italian team Treviso in Pool 5.

Saints, having initially missed out on top seeding, were placed among the Tier 1 teams after they and Glasgow Warriors beat Castres to the two remaining spaces.

That put them in a position of strength and they were quickly paired with Racing, who boast former Saints Brian Mujati and Juandre Kruger among many other top names.

Ospreys were next out of the pot, meaning Saints will travel to Swansea for the second season in succession.

Mallinder’s men beat the Welsh team twice in last season’s competition.

Treviso were the final team placed in Pool 5, with Saints taking on the Italians for the first time since the 2009/10 campaign.

There are two pools that look particularly difficult to navigate, with Pool 1 comprising of Saracens, Munster, Clermont Auvergne and Sale and Pool 3 possessing Toulon, Leicester, Ulster and Scarlets.

But Saints will not be displeased with their draw, which looks far kinder than the one they were handed last season, when Leinster, Castres and Ospreys provided the opposition.

European Rugby Champions Cup draw

Pool 1: Saracens, Munster, Clermont Auvergne, Sale Sharks

Pool 2: Leinster, Castres, Harlequins, Wasps

Pool 3: Toulon, Leicester, Ulster, Scarlets

Pool 4: Glasgow, Montpellier, Bath, Toulouse

Pool 5: Saints, Racing Metro, Ospreys, Treviso