Munster Rugby have been drawn in Pool 1 of the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) Champions Cup along with Racing 92 of Paris, Glasgow Warriors and Leicester Tigers.
The draws for the 2016/17 European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been completed at EPCR headquarters in Switzerland this afternoon.
Munster scraped their way into the top flight competition by crucially finishing 6th in the Guinness Pro12 competition this year.
In a grouping that sees former Munster playmaker Ronan O’Gara make a welcome visit to Thomond Park in a coaching capacity, Munster and French Top 14 champions Racing 92 will face each other in the pool stages for the first time since 2012/13.
Back then, Racing came from behind to snatch victory with two late penalties in the Stade de France, however Munster made it one apiece on the return leg with a comprehensive 29-6 win in Thomond Park.
Munster team manager Niall O’Donovan said: “We always knew we were in store for a difficult challenge, so to see opposition such as the Top14 champions and this year’s Champions Cup runners-up, Racing Metro, PRO12 semi-finalists Glasgow Warriors and Premiership semi-finalists Leicester Tigers in our pool is no surprise.
But this is what this competition is about – it’s the top 20 clubs in European Rugby competing for the highest accolade so we didn’t expect any less and every pool presents its own challenges. There are no easy groups in this, everybody is fighting to get to the knock-out stages.”
“With the long European history with Leicester and our battles with them last season we only know too well what lies ahead of us, similarly with our PRO12 colleagues Glasgow Warriors we know we are in store for some exciting tussles,” he said.
“Looking at the three sides they have all experienced Thomond Park before and will have no fear coming over to us, and of course Racing Metro with the Ronan O’Gara influence, he will have them well briefed on us. They are the French club champions for a reason and they don’t come bigger than that.
We’ll treat our campaign no different to previous seasons and take it round by round, and while getting through the pool stages is always a massive challenge we need to ensure we put in a performance on each occasion,” O’Donovan added.
The pools are:
- Racing 92
- Sale Sharks
- Northampton Saints