Daunting task for Sale in Heineken Cup
PA Sport
June 17, 2008

Sale Sharks face the daunting prospect of facing European champions Munster and two French teams in the group stages of next season's Heineken Cup.

The Guinness Premiership side were handed arguably the toughest task of all the English clubs in this morning's draw, with the talented Clermont Auvergne and Montauban awaiting them in Pool One.

Premiership champions Wasps must also overcome a strong trio if they are to reach the knockout stages, with Leinster, Castres and Edinburgh making up Pool Two.

Runners-up Leicester were drawn against Perpignan, Welsh entertainers Ospreys and Italian minnows Treviso in Pool Three.

This season's defeated Heineken Cup finalists Toulouse are in Pool Five alongside Challenge Cup winners Bath, Newport Gwent Dragons and Glasgow.

In Pool Six, Gloucester appear to have a strong chance of qualifying from a group which also includes French side Biarritz, cup quarter-finalists Cardiff and Italy's Calvisano.

Harlequins' prospects look slightly less rosy in Pool Four, however, with Stade Francais, Llanelli Scarlets and Ulster awaiting them when the matches get under way in October.

Today's draw was the first to use the new European Cup Rugby rankings system which split the clubs into four tiers based on performances in the competition over the last four seasons.

POOL 1: Munster, Sale Sharks, Clermont Auvergne, Montauban

POOL 2: London Wasps, Leinster, Castres Olympique, Edinburgh

POOL 3: Leicester Tigers, Perpignan, Ospreys, Treviso

POOL 4: Stade Français, Llanelli Scarlets, Ulster, Harlequins

POOL 5: Toulouse, Bath, Newport Gwent Dragons, Glasgow Warriors

POOL 6: Biarritz, Gloucester, Cardiff Blues, Calvisano

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