The return of Hoggy; The European Cup Draws

The draws for both The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup took place in Lausanne, Switzerland this afternoon.

The Challenge Cup draw was up first so we’ll deal with it first.

Edinburgh were in tier two and were drawn against – Wasps, Bordeaux Begle and Agen and allocated Pool 3.

Wasps have won the Champions Cup twice in 2004 and 2007 and have also won the Challenge Cup in 2003 so have a fairly healthy pedigree in terms of European rugby competitions. That said they had a difficult 2018-2019 domestic season finishing eighth in the Premiership. We can look forward to seeing the likes of Lima Sopoaga and the “is he/isn’t he” Scottish scrum half Ben Vellacott run out at Murrayfield.

Bordeaux-Begles finished 10th in the Top 14 in the season that has just finished and having only been formed in 2006 don’t have the success on the European field of play like Wasps do. I can imagine there will be a few Edinburgh fans making the  trip to Bordeaux.

Agen flirted with relegation from the Top 14 last season finishing third from bottom. They do have silverware to their name having won their league although their last title came in 1988. Like Edinburgh they have been beaten Challenge Cup finalists having lost to Colomiers in the final in 1998.

Duncan Weir’s Worcester Warriors are in Pool 1 and face Castre, Dragons and Enisei. So a trip to Russia awaits the marmite stand off and friends.

Alan Dell freshly arrived at a Guinness-free London Irish has a tough looking Pool 2 that includes Scarlets, Toulon and Bayonne who may or may not still have killer B Johnny Beattie, amongst their ranks.

In the pre-draw for the Champions Cup, Glasgow Warriors ended up being placed in Tier 2 and as it turned out that brought an extra level of excitement as they were confirmed, almost inevitably, in Pool 2 alongside Exeter Chiefs, La Rochelle and Sale Sharks.

So it’s an early return to Scotstoun for Stuart Hogg with his Exeter team (also including Sam Skinner) in what most of us will be anticipating as one of the ties of the group stages. Since they were promoted to the Premiership in 2010 they have climbed the league steadily and have been champions or runners up in all of the last 4 years. Their record over the same period in Europe isn’t as impressive however as they have failed to qualify for the knockout stages in their last 3 attempts.

La Rochelle, or to give them their correct title, Stade Rochelais finished this last season as semi-finalists in the Top 14 losing to eventual winners Toulouse and as runners up to Clermont in the Challenge Cup.

Sale Sharks have a Scottish contingent in the shape of Josh Strauss and Byron McGuigan. They also have a significant Afrikaans look about them with scrum half Faff de Klerk being joined by 6 new South African players for this new season including the hugely impressive Lood De Jager. They had a mixed domestic season in the year just finished, but seem like a team that is still building. They have won the Challenge Cup twice in 2002 and 2005 but have not made it out of the group stages in the Champions Cup since 2006.

There are Scots in teams in every Pool of the Champions Cup this year so plenty for us to focus on post world cup.

Full details of the draws for both competitions cans be found at –https://www.epcrugby.com/european-professional-club-rugby/

As far as fixtures go the following dates have been designated for European competition:

EPCR weekends – 2019/20 season
Round 1: 15/16/17 November 2019
Round 2: 22/23/24 November 2019
Round 3: 6/7/8 December 2019
Round 4: 13/14/15 December 2019
Round 5: 10/11/12 January 2020
Round 6: 17/18/19 January 2020

Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2020
Semi-finals: 1/2/3 May 2020

2020 finals – Stade de Marseille
Heineken Champions Cup final: Saturday 23 May.

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Edinburgh supporter and former tighthead whose clubs include Edinburgh Wanderers, Corstorphine, Lothian & Borders Police and The Co-optimists. I’m a much better player now than I ever was when I actually took to the field.
Follow Sandy on twitter @bigparahandy

15 comments on “The return of Hoggy; The European Cup Draws

    • GW on

      FF lets see how well Munster do in the same situation that Glasgow have been in. I can’t wait to see there European pedigree shine through.

      • FF on

        Can’t believe you’re still trying to flog this horse. But to be clear are you comparing Glasgow’s group last year (Saracens, Lyon and Cardiff) to Munster’s this year (Saracens, Racing, Ospreys)? Because there is no real comparison between Racing, perennial qualifiers and frequent finalists and Lyon, who are rubbish and were in their first European cup season. Another example of your soft thinking.

        Anyway, Glasgow have a pretty good draw but not sure it’s going to be a cakewalk. Exeter have no european pedigree but are exactly the kind of side Glasgow struggle against. Maybe you should save being cocky until after we actually do something worth crowing about? Like getting to a SF.

      • TeamCam on

        Lyon have been semi-finalists in the last two Top14 seasons. They finished 3rd in the regular season. They’re not rubbish. Cardiff beat them largely because the referee rewarded some of the most blatant cheating I’ve seen at the breakdown.

        In the last two seasons, Warriors have consistently been a better side than Munster. Sure, Munster have pedigree, but their success lies in their being ‘streetwise’, cf. our match at Thomond last year, or their QF against Edinburgh. When was the last time Munster actually won a title?

      • GW on

        I think i’ll back the Glasgow boys right now to do better than Munster this season & it’s the same thing, it does not matter which pool you are in if you have this European pedigree you have been banging on about. Ospreys clearly will have no impact on that pool and i would be surprised if they get a single win. Racing sure there good but compare it to the Glasgow pool which involved Leinster, Exeter & Montpellier & suddenly it looks a lot clearer why Glasgow have struggled whereas Munster had Favourable draws.

        Oh how good it feels when the roles have reversed & Munster get the stick instead of the carrot.

        Ill concede that your points are correct in this debate if Munster go further than Glasgow this season, but i very very much doubt this will happen.

      • FF on

        To be clear, when Glasgow were drawn with Exeter, Leinster and Montpellier they came dead last and won one game.

        Lyon might be competitive when in Top14 but they have done the square root of F-all in Europe and were utter POOPITY last season.

        I really want Glasgow to win the whole thing, but the only thing that counts is results. Glasgow have done very little in Europe. This whole discussion came about because you anointed them top 5, maybe top 4. That simply is not borne out by results and you both write off teams that habitually do much better than Glasgow in Europe.

        GW – your claim that this is because of luck is frankly laughable.

        I think we can all agree that Glasgow have a fairy decent draw this time round and should be aiming to top their group and finally get a home SF.

      • GW on

        Correction. I believe i said currently they are one of top 5 possibly 4, what i meant by that is on current form. You then started bringing up history previous results but refuse to acknowledge as of this moment that Glasgow ‘on form’ are a top 5 team, or at the very least superior to Munster. Form has got nothing to do with previous results.

      • TeamCam on

        I’ve not written off any teams who habitually do better than us in Europe. All I’ve said is that we’re a better team than Munster at the moment. And they might get further than us in Europe, but they still haven’t won anything in a decade.

      • Campbell B on

        I Dont agree with any of you. We are in the close season , so is everyone else. I see no reason for confidence or pessimism . New season, new sides, no Hogg , finally.

        History is credible and factual. When you have a history of success , it breeds a belief and that is something Glasgow do not have yet.

        Top 5 in Europe ? What ? Is this the same Glasgow that get beaten regulalry by Edinburgh or a fantasy team on your xbox !

  1. Munster tim on

    We are all flattered that yer first thoughts are for Munster! Until ye actually do something in Europe though I wouldn’t get too bolshie. As I’ve seen someone write about yer group when describing the draw, a group of neverbeens

    • TeamCam on

      “I’ve seen someone write about yet group when describing the draw, a group of neverbeens”

      Haha! Can’t argue with that!

  2. Andy_N on

    At one point in the draw I think it was 50/50 if we got Exeter or Saracens, so all in all I’m pretty happy with the result. The ‘Hoggy Homecoming’ will add a bit of spice to the occasion and La Rochelle has the makings of a brilliant away trip. Slightly worried about Sale – they might come in a bit under the radar but have huge talent and resources at their disposal – particularly with some of the new signings they’ve made recently. If they can get their gameplan right, they’ll be the real deal.

    Looking at all three of the team in Glasgow’s group, the one thing you know they’re all guaranteed to bring is size and power. Glasgow still feel a big second row and ball carrying back row away from being genuine contenders. Guys like Strauss and Big Brian would have been ideal – hey ho

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