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Champions Cup winners La Rochelle drawn with Premiership and URC semi-finalists

By Josh Raisey
Gregory Alldritt lifts the trophy for La Rochelle (Photo by PA)

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Reigning Heineken Champions Cup winners La Rochelle are set to face Gallagher Premiership semi-finalists Northampton Saints and United Rugby Championship semi-finalists Ulster in the 2022/23 instalment of the competition.

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Despite being crowned European champions last season, Ronan O’Gara’s side were a tier three side in the draw as they crashed out of the Top 14 in the quarter-finals. That meant they were drawn with tier two outfits, who were all the losing semi-finalists of the Premiership, URC and Top 14.

Meanwhile, Premiership winners Leicester Tigers will face ASM Clermont Auvergne and the Ospreys in the pool stages, URC winners the Stormers will face ASM Clermont Auvergne and London Irish, while newly crowned Top 14 winners Montpellier will face London Irish and the Ospreys. This is because the winners of each competition were placed in tier one, meaning they are matched up with tier four sides, who were the sides that finished seventh and eight in their respective leagues (although ninth place Ospreys made it from the URC instead of Glasgow Warriors as they were the highest placed Welsh side).

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Losing finalists in each competition were also placed in tier one alongside the champions, which means Saracens will face Challenge Cup winners Lyon and Edinburgh, Castres will face 2020 European champions Exeter Chiefs and Edinburgh, and the Bulls will face Lyon and Exeter.

Losing Champions Cup finalists Leinster will come up against Racing 92 and Gloucester, while five time champions Toulouse are set to have a repeat of their epic quarter-final clash with Munster (which was decided by a penalty shootout), as well as fixtures against Sale Sharks.

Losing Premiership semi-finalists Harlequins have perhaps got the toughest fixture list of all, as they will play three time runners-up Racing 92 and South Africa’s Sharks, who have been on a recruitment drive this year.

Teams will play each other home and away, with the top eight teams from each pool progressing to the round of 16. Round one will get underway in December, with the final on May 20 2023 at the Aviva Stadium.

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This is the draw:

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